THR's Late-Night Poll: "Unpredictable, Cool Dude" Jimmy Fallon Tops the List
The landscape has recently changed: Viewers want to be entertained and informed, which would expand the influx of political guests.
Jimmy Fallon is the king of late night among fans, especially those who are married and/or Democrats.
The Saturday Night Live veteran was the favorite in a recent poll conducted by measurement firm Penn Schoen Berland for The Hollywood Reporter, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the relaunched THR. The firm conducted the online survey of 1,000 late-night viewers between Nov. 6 and Nov. 10. Split equally between men and women, those polled range in age from 18 to 65.
Fallon, who took over hosting The Tonight Show in 2014 following Jay Leno's departure, is seen as an "unpredictable, cool dude you want to be friends with," which is why he is winning the three-way time-slot race by a 2-to-1 margin over Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, said lead pollster Jon Penn.
Fallon is the host who has benefited most from the departure of David Letterman. According to the poll, 48 percent of Fallon viewers are married, 36 percent are Democrats and their alcohol of choice is a tie between beer and wine, according to the Penn Schoen Berland poll. Fallon also draws in a higher proportion of female viewers, 55 percent, than Colbert or Kimmel.
"On the political spectrum they are the 'swing' in between the more conservative-leaning Kimmel and the more liberal-leaning Colbert viewers," said Penn.
The late-night landscape has recently changed, viewers want to be entertained and informed, which would expand the influx of political guests, Penn added.
In this regard, Stephen Colbert, who took over the Late Show, has benefited because he was able to retain a good chunk of his core audience acquired from his former Comedy Central stint.
"Colbert Nation is filled with wealthy, socially liberal men who overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana and want Bernie Sanders to be president," Penn said.
According to the poll, 47 percent of Colbert's audience are Democrats, among their favorite shows are Family Guy and Game of Thrones, and Atheist leads the religion category with 30 percent.
Comedy Central was hurt the most by the late night shakeup, losing viewers due to the departure of both Colbert and Daily Show host Jon Stewart, Penn said.
Kimmel is noted for having "most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump," according to Penn. The poll numbers show 30 percent of his viewers favor the billionaire businessman among the other candidates, on both sides. Kimmel has more Democrats watching than Republicans, but only by 1 percent, the narrowest margin among the three hosts, according to the poll. His viewers' favorite shows are Shark Tank and The Bachelorette, with Protestant leading the religion category at 41 percent.
"They are most likely to get their news from Fox News, eat at McDonald’s, listen to country [and] drink bottled water," Penn said.
Finally, if the 2016 presidential election were to occur today, and Hillary Clinton and Trump were the candidates, the breakdown among late night viewers would be as followers: Fallon -- 56 percent would vote for Clinton; Colbert -- 72 percent would vote for Clinton; Kimmel -- 52 percent would vote for Clinton. Overall 59 percent would vote for Clinton, according to the poll.