Fake newscaster, real credibility: Jon Stewart stands at the peak of American punditry poll

May 7, 2015

As Jon Stewart winds down his 19-year stint as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, he and Stephen Colbert sit at the peak of American punditry despite their left-leaning view of life, the universe and everything.

In an era of diffused voices and divided politics, they are well known, widely admired, and speak to Americans in ways that no one else does, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

No one on the right of the political spectrum comes close; not Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly. And few others else cross political lines on the left, certainly not John Oliver or Bill Maher.

About 40 percent of Republicans say Jon Stewart shares their world view, at least some of the time. That’s just about 10 percentage points less than the country as a whole:


Among Republicans:

But beyond Stewart and Colbert, the former Comedy Central host, punditry largely appeals to the expected audience.

Consider O’Reilly. In some ways, he has been Stewart’s foil in recent years. His Fox News program¬†The O’Reilly Factor is among the top-rated shows on television. And he is largely admired by Republicans. But beyond the GOP, only a third admire him:

Among non-Republicans:

In fact, among the 10 pundits the poll tracked (Stewart, Colbert, Maher, John Oliver, Rachel Maddow, O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh), those on the right of the political spectrum seem to have the hardest time gaining traction outside their core audience.

O’Reilly’s “admiration” rating, at 36 percent, was fifth-highest but tops among conservatives. Among the liberal crowd, only Rachel Maddow, at 32 percent, was lower. At the bottom, Rush Limbaugh’s score was just 25 percent, though he scored 52 percent among Republicans.

It should also be noted that all but Maddow on the left are comedians at heart. None of the conservatives are as trained in telling an intentional joke.

3 comments so far

Jon 2016! No really. How much worse could he be than any of the other likely candidates? That would be a campaign to capture the imagination and at least he’s not beholding to any special interest, yet. OK, so maybe he should start small, like Mayor of New York City.

- Posted by Ther

Politics has become a joke, which is why comedians in the political sphere carry so much weight among Americans.

- Posted by pyradius

Comedians expose the 1/2 truths, omissions of the truth and falsehoods disseminated by talking heads for the fat cats.

- Posted by Amwatching2c
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