ESPN recently commissioned a survey to address theories the network is losing viewers because of a perceived liberal bias.
The Sporting News, however, was quick to point out that a closer look at the statistics show “a subset of respondents, by a 2-to-1 margin, believe the network leans to the left politically.”
A report posted at espn.com says 64 percent of 1,423 adult respondents believe the network is properly mixing sports news and political issues. Ten percent had no opinion and 8 percent said ESPN doesn’t include enough politics in its programming.
The network says the proportion of viewers in the May 3-7 survey who saw political bias was unchanged since the previous survey in October.
The Sporting News says it dug deeper into the numbers and found that 30 percent of respondents detect a bias and 63 percent said it was a liberal bias. Thirty percent said it was conservative bias, ESPN reports. The remaining 7 percent said they detected a bias but declined to categorize which way the network leaned, The Sporting News reported.
ESPN says the survey shows that conservative and Republicans rank the network higher (7.2 and 7.1 respectively on a 10-point scale) than liberals and Democrats (7.0 each).
The network says the survey shows that even though some people disagree with how ESPN addresses some societal issues, it does not have a material effect on viewing behavior.