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Survey Finds Some Podcasts Are Ready-Made For Election Year Listeners.

If there was any doubt about the role podcasting will play during the 2024 election, consider this: the AI-powered content creation platform Podcastle reports that since the start of this year, 3,795 political podcast episodes have been produced. And while the focus has turned to the general election – even as primary voting continues in several states today – it has released results of a survey showing which podcasts are early winners. The data also has some warning signs for creators.

Podcastle conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans to understand how they’re consuming, engaging with and sharing political news and media in light of the 2024 election season. Its data crunching finds that NPR News Now is the most popular news and political podcast in the U.S. for the 2024 election season. That is in part due to the NPR daily series’ popularity with two of podcasting’s biggest consumers – Millennials and Gen Z,. Podcastle says NPR News Now is the most popular political podcast with those two age groups, although among Gen Zs there was a tie with the New York Times-produced The Daily. Among Gen X podcast listeners, the conservative The Tucker Carlson Podcast was the most popular, while Baby Boomers picked the progressive The Rachel Maddow Show as their favorite.

For left-leaning podcast listeners, Podcastle says the survey shows their favorite show is NPR News Now, which is the same for those with people who are middle of the road. A third (32%) of right-leaning respondents said The Tucker Carlson Podcast is their top podcast.

Overall, the top 10 political podcasts were:

  1. NPR News Now

  2. The Daily

  3. The Tucker Carlson Podcast

  4. The Ben Shapiro Show

  5. The Rachel Maddow Show

  6. Candance Owens

  7. Democracy Now!

  8. Pod Save America

  9. The Journal

  10. The Megyn Kelly Show

More than half (57%) said they are engaging with political news for the same amount of time as the last election. But while the survey finds that many Americans are listening to podcasts for political news, many others are a lot less interested in the topic. Podcastle says roughly three in ten (28%) said they are engaging with political news and podcasts less often than in the last election. That likely has less to do with what podcasters are doing, and more with the state of the race. Americans say the top word they would use to describe the 2024 election is “stressed.”

“It’s not just engaging with political news that Americans are avoiding, a huge 75% aren’t sharing their political views on social media platforms either,” Podcastle says. In addition to stressed, other top words to describe the election from its survey were pessimistic (19%), hopeless (17%), indifferent (13%), and exhausted (13%). It says just three percent said they were “excited” about the election, and only two percent are “inspired.” With that as a backdrop, Podcastle says creators may want to consider some alternative formats for any new show they launch this year.

Another reason that political podcasts may be an uphill climb in 2024 is there are few campaign ad dollars heading into the medium so far. One ad agency executive told Digiday that it has seen spending in news and political podcasting heading in the other direction, sliding 2.7% compared to a year ago. That compares to a rise that it saw during the early months of the 2020 election cycle.

Gretchen Smith, VP of Media at Ad Results Media, says that some clients continue to feel “uneasy” about news and political content, telling the website, “It is not strictly a podcast problem, as politics heavily intersects with culture, and this often raises concerns for advertisers who are already weary.”

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