Sep 27, 2018

Top 20 Returning Programs to Reach Swing Voters

Author: Deep Root Analytics

The official beginning of fall means two things: the return of prime-time programming on TV after the summer hiatus and an influx of political ads before November’s election. For campaigns with the right resources, these two things go hand-in-hand.

At Deep Root Analytics, we specialize in identifying the key segments of the electorate that will decide the outcome of elections and figuring out what these people watch on TV. This allows us to advise campaigns on where they should place their ads for the optimal mix of effectiveness and efficiency.

As a result, we sit on a huge amount of data on how different types of voters spend their time watching television. This data can tell us a lot, including what the top 20 returning programs on TV this fall are for reaching Swing Voters.

When considering the top programs, we consider two metrics: the size of our audience (how many Swing Voters are watching, shown on the X axis below) and the density of our audience (of everyone watching, how likely is each person to be a Swing voter, shown on the Y axis below).

So, what are the top 20 returning programs for Swing Voters this fall?

A few items that stick out to us from this data:

  • Where is FOX? The absence of FOX is notable, but this does not mean it does not pick up large audiences. FOX relies heavily on live sports to drive viewership in the fall, including the World Series, NFL games on both Sundays and Thursdays and college football games on Saturdays, each of which pick up massive audiences.


  • CBS owns prime-time programming. Of the top 20 programs, 13 are on CBS, and four of those, 60 Minutes, Young Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory and NCIS, are better than any other prime-time program to reach Swing Voters nationally.


  • 60 Minutes stands out, but why? 60 Minutes is noticeably better than everything else shown here: on average, over 4 million Swing voters watch in the fall, and Swing Voters are 26% more likely to watch 60 Minutes than the average American adult. But what helps drive this audience? On the east coast, 60 Minutes airs directly after the afternoon NFL game – a powerful lead-in program that delivered a huge audience for the weekly news show.