Is a presidential election a turnoff to news viewers, even those who generally like to hear political opinions reflected in cable news shows?
In what seems an incongruous development, the month of May — in the middle of what is shaping up as a close presidential campaign — generated some of the worst recent ratings for cable news television.
That included the dominant leader in that category, Fox News. The ratings for some of its top programs declined to their lowest levels since the last presidential election year.
Of course for CNN, which trails Fox News badly across the board, the ratings news is consistent — as in consistently dreadful — with several of its prime viewing hours, including the 7 p.m. shows and 9 p.m. shows, attracting the smallest audiences in that channel’s history.
MSNBC also recorded sharp falloffs in viewing compared to last May.
MSNBC was down 26 percent from a year ago in the category of most importance to news channels, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 (the group news advertisers pay to reach).