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Ch.2′s “Daybreak” Dominates; Election Polls Tested

  • The departures of Joe Arena and Victoria Hong from Channel 4’s “Wake Up” have taken a toll on the morning news program.
  • Hurricane Sandy didn’t have much of a negative impact on Western New York but it had a huge impact on local news ratings.
  • Channel 2 News is solidifying its leads at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. but its “10 at 10” on WNYO is slipping.

Those are some of the headlines from the first week of the November news sweeps.

Jodi Johnston

First things first, with an apology for all the numbers. Remember I used to be a math major, which is probably why I like Nate Silver’s 538 Blog in the New York Times.

At 6 a.m., Channel 2’s “Daybreak” with John Beard and Jodi Johnston (in her final sweeps before leaving for a bank job) posted a 7.9 rating, which is 40 percent higher than the 5.7 rating it averaged during the entire November sweeps last year.

Channel 4’s “Wake Up!” with newcomers Nalina Shapiro and Ed Drantch averaged a 4.6 rating, which is 15 percent lower than the 5.4 rating it averaged a year ago with Hong and Arena. Its 7 a.m. “Wake Up” on WNLO slipped to a 1.3 rating, down 85 percent from a 2.0 a year ago.

At 5.a.m., Channel 2 holds a 4.0-3.0 lead over Channel 4, a reversal of Channel 4’s win a year ago by 3.8-3.4. Meanwhile, Channel 7 jumped to a 2.1 at 5 a.m. from a 1.5, indicating Channel 4’s personnel losses have led viewers to sample the third-rated morning program.

Channel 7’s morning program with Ginger Geoffery and Patrick Taney averaged a 3.0 rating at 6 a.m., the same as it averaged a year ago. If you do the math, Channel 2’s “Daybreak” had a higher rating than its two competitors combined.

The 7.9 rating also is higher than the 7.3 rating that Channel 2 averages at 11 p.m., when it is closer to Channel 7 (6.5) than Channel 4 (9.6.) which benefits from the strong lead-ins it gets from CBS entertainment programs. Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock News on WNLO also defeated Channel 2’s 10 at 10 by 4.8-1.7. Both stations lost audience in their 10 p.m. newscasts, which could be a product of strong 10 p.m. network entertainment programming or people heading to bed earlier.

Channel 2 continues to dominate at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and it maintained a slim lead within the margin of error at 6 p.m. The news ratings were up significantly in the early evening news hours, primarily because of interest in Sandy. Channel 2 averaged double-digits in all three time periods, Channel 4 did so at 6 p.m. Those are exceptionally high news numbers that will be tough to duplicate for the rest of the month.

Of course, news ratings are done similarly to election polling and often leave viewers shaking their head that so few people can determine them.

The November presidential election Tuesday not only is a contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney, but also a referendum on polls.

Romney has been ahead frequently in the daily national Rasmussen Poll and in Rasmussen polls of several swing states. Gallup also has had Romney ahead by a significant margin for weeks.

However, The New York Times highly-respected 538 blog (it is named for the number of electoral college votes that determine the winner)  by Silver has given the President a 70 percent to 85 percent chance of winning based on his interpretation of a collection of polls of the national race and the races in swing states.

Clearly, Silver’s reputation and the reputations of Rasmussen and Gallup are on the line Tuesday along with the presidency.

Locally, The Buffalo News and WGRZ-TV poll of the congressional race between incumbent Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins really isn’t on trial because it calls the race a statistical dead heat even though Collins has a one-point lead.


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14 responses to "Ch.2′s “Daybreak” Dominates; Election Polls Tested"

  1. Ian says:

    With all the turnover at Channel 4, their news programming has a decidedly YNN feel to it (that’s not a compliment).
    I will say that Channel 2′s set just looks better in HD, while Channel 4′s looks like something you might see on a small town affiliate. Throw in seasoned anchors who don’t stammer while reading the teleprompter, and it’s easy to see why Channel 2 dominates.
    I will say it’s a shame Channel 7 doesn’t do better in the morning. Ginger Geoffrey and Patrick Taney actually do a nice job, and Mike Randall is always great.

  2. John says:

    I had friends stay at my house last week and one morning they were watching WIVB and they thought it was the U of Buffalo campus tv station. I laughed and changed channels so they could compare. they were shocked at how young the staff looked. I told them that it was a trend at WIVB. When you stand back and look at them side by side it really does look bad

  3. Tina says:

    Nate Silver is pretty confident in his numbers even declaring Obama has approximately a 73% chance of winning again. Apparently he is taking a lot of flack over this but we all know who is whining and complaining now don’t we? I just hope he’s right.

    • alanp says:

      Actually, Silver has raised the President’s chances to 86.3 percent. But that still gives Romney a 13.7 chance of winning.

    • Silver has always been somewhat of a Democrat leaner, and the thing about using probabilities is that you can turn a very small margin of lead and exacerbate it by giving the person with that lead a high “chance” of winning. For instance, with a standard confidence interval, if you assume Obama’s up 51-48 (a 3% margin) and the MOE is 3%, Silver can say that Obama has a 95% chance of winning (the confidence interval is typically 95%).

      I know that those of us on the right have had suspicions about a lot of these polls, given that the Democrat sampling has been very high in relation to the voting population. There are quite a few polls showing Romney very competitive in several states that would never be imagined (PA, WI, MI, even MN!). That, and the enthusiasm gap (GOP seems more into it than the Dems) gives me reason to believe Romney has a far greater chance of winning than Silver thinks.

  4. Rob says:

    Alan’s second-hand endorsement on who to vote for tomorrow.

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