Recent CivicScience data suggests a political shift among news content audiences, with multiple hypotheses and most likely considerable factors as to why. The most significant changes are among newspaper and digital-only content providers, where Democrat visitors are declining. While the political tribalism of new audiences may seem alarming, tracking these trends creates opportunities for content providers. 

Why is it important to understand an audience’s political profile?

The obvious reason is that political identification correlates directly with so many other aspects of one’s life. Using psychographic data aligned with political affiliation can improve content engagement, retention, ad targeting, and personalization.

It’s not surprising that consumers prefer and seek-out content that aligns with their existing beliefs. Understanding these beliefs and the issues they are most concerned with can help guide content decision-making.  Articles on the environment and climate would appeal more to a left-leaning audience. A more right-leaning audience is more likely to read up on inflation and the economy. 

Beyond content creation, you can learn a lot about an audience by inferring political affiliation from topical interests and issue stances. They can help predict psychographic factors, lifestyles, and other affinities.

For instance, the consumer who is MOST worried about inflation is much more likely than average to be a middle-aged (35-54) Republican male, a rural dwelling homeowner, a religious charity donor, and less likely to be a heavy social media user.  With their stance on inflation, it’s not surprising that they are also more likely to think now is a bad time to make a major purchase.

The consumer who is MOST worried about climate change is much more likely than average to be a female Democrat, a frequent viewer of music and entertainment, as well as news content on TV, health-conscious, and an urban-dwelling renter. The majority of these individuals are also more likely to say that now is a good/average time to make a major purchase.

When we look at major purchase intent by political affiliation, the results correlate directly with their most concerning issues. With 63% of Republicans saying now is a bad time to make a major purchase and just 47% of Democrats stating the same.

Political Leanings Directly Affect Brand Affiliation and Advertising Engagement

Political leanings and related contextual signals can even provide predictive insights for brand preferences and advertiser engagement.  CivicScience data show that Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats to enjoy a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A. In contrast, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to favor Popeye’s. Our data shows numerous examples of this across all category verticals.  Long story short, politics affect everything. But, of course, everything affects everything.

What does it all mean?

It’ll be increasingly important for publishers, content creators, and advertisers alike to keep a pulse on this ever-evolving political landscape. As mid-term elections approach, we expect to see another shift in audience dynamics. Stay vigilant! 

Want more? If you’re a current publisher or client, you already have access to real-time, in-depth data beyond this top-line check-in. If you’re not and want to learn more, please get in touch.