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Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh has never been shy about expressing his opinion, from how America never will improve under Barack Obama even to questions about Obama’s eligibility to occupy the Oval Office. And now his undiluted expressions of truth have generated an opinion about his work from large segments of the population who claim they never listen to him.
The surprising results came in a new scientific telephone survey of nearly l,100 respondents conducted Aug. 20-22 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.93 percentage points. It was done by Wenzel Strategies.
While nearly 60 percent of the respondents claim they never listen to the dominant voice on the radio airwaves today, only 15 percent were unsure whether Limbaugh is helpful or harmful to the U.S., and almost exactly the same number were unable to rate his performance.
In the poll, 56 percent said Limbaugh is doing an excellent, good or fair job, while only 28 percent said his performance was poor. Fifteen percent had no opinion.
More than 51 percent said his work is very helpful or somewhat helpful to the nation, while 34 percent said he was very harmful or somewhat harmful. Again, 15 percent held no opinion.
“Even among the very liberal, 42 percent said he was helpful to America,” said Fritz Wenzel, president of Wenzel Strategies. “There is a significant gender gap for Limbaugh, as 59 percent of all men considered him helpful to America, just 43 percent of women agreed. That said, more women than not agreed that Limbaugh is helpful to America – just 38 percent of women said he was harmful, while 19 percent were not sure.
“What was interesting about this line of questioning was that the more people listened to Limbaugh, the more helpful they believe he is to America. Among those who listen almost every day, 90 percent said he was helpful to the nation. But, even among those who never listen to his program, 30 percent said they believe he is helpful,” Wenzel said.
Wenzel noted that respondents in the poll “painted a clear picture of media dominance, as 25 percent of adults nationwide said they listen to him a lot. Eleven percent said they listen to his radio program very often, which was defined as almost every day.”
He continued, “Fourteen percent said they listened to his 3-hour per day, 5-day per week program at least once a week. Of course, his listenership was much higher among very conservative respondents, as 48 percent – almost half of all very conservative Americans nationwide – listen at least once a week.
“But even among the ‘very liberal,’ 24 percent said they listen at least once per week to his program. Moderates, who are much-maligned on his airwaves, are least likely to listen as often – just 12 percent said they listen at least once a week.”
Among those who never listen to his show, 49 percent said he was harmful, the poll reveals.
“Limbaugh’s job approval rating in this survey was 38 percent, while those who disapproved of the job he does on the radio stood at 47 percent. The balance of the respondents were unsure. It is interesting that his job approval rating mirrors that of President Obama in this same survey, with the exception that the president’s disapproval ratings are significantly higher and the percentage of uncertain respondents was much lower,” Wenzel explained.
Nearly three of four Republicans said Limbaugh was good for America, with 43.4 percent saying he is very helpful and another 29.6 percent indicating he is somewhat helpful. But 37 percent of the Democrats said he is very harmful while another 19 percent said his is somewhat harmful.
Likewise on the question of a job performance rating, 34.2 percent of Republicans said he is excellent, 24 percent said he is good and 19 percent said fair. Only 11 percent of Republicans said his work is poor.
But in the column for Democrats, 49.5 percent said his work is poor and 22.8 percent said only fair.
Revealingly, among those who said they never listen to Limbaugh, nearly 45 percent said his work was poor and another 18 percent said his work was fair. Among those who said they often listen, 81 percent said his work was excellent and another 14 percent said his work is good.
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