Ads for Romney, Gingrich, and other candidates showing up on cable stations as apolitical as The Weather Channel tell us not only that, for whatever reasons, its viewers tend to be Republican, but that 2012's presidential campaigns are the most sophisticated yet. Reporting from Tampa, The New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters runs down how candidates are divvying up television airtime in Florida. While old Republican standbys like Fox News and universally popular primetime programs like CSI are getting plenty of advertisements, "the Weather Channel, the Food Network and HGTV — channels that do not come immediately to mind when one thinks of the Tea Party — are also broadcasting their share of commercials."
The reason, of course, is that those three seemingly nonpartisan networks (along with The History Channel) actually tend to have more Republican audiences than not. In the case of The Weather Channel, older people both tend to be interested in weather forecasts and also tend to be Republican, the hypothesis goes. HDTV attracts small-business owners who usually lean right. According to The Times, "such precise targeting demonstrates how campaigns are trying to take as much guesswork as possible out of the inexact science of television advertising." Which fits nicely into the (somewhat obvious) narrative The Times and other outlets have built with reports like yesterday's on GOP candidates' sophisticated use of Twitter that the 2012 election is the most technologically exacting ever.