Poll: Americans favor Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert over conservatives for punditry

Fri May 8, 2015 4:46am EDT
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By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Jon Stewart has spent 16 years skewering U.S. politicians and media as the liberal host of television's "The Daily Show" - and many Americans think he gets it right on the issues with his satirical look at the news.

In a Reuters/Ipsos online poll, the Comedy Central comic topped a list of 10 pundits, with more than half of respondents saying they agreed with him on at least some issues. Only 12 percent did not agree with him on any issues at all.

Stewart, who will host his last Daily Show episode on Aug. 6, also ranked highest on two other traits - fearlessness and most admired. Of the 2,013 people 18 and older polled, nearly half found him unafraid in confronting "issues that others ignore," while 48 percent said they admired him.

Daily Show alumnus Stephen Colbert, who spoofed conservative talk-show hosts for nearly a decade on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," tied Stewart as most admired and placed second to him on issues and fearlessness. Colbert will soon take over hosting "The Late Show" on CBS.

By contrast, only 34 percent of respondents agreed with Rush Limbaugh. The fiery conservative talk show host was the least admired commentator on a list that also included political satirist Bill Maher, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly and conservative author Ann Coulter.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents were familiar with Limbaugh's work, the most for any commentator. Limbaugh's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stewart has become a favorite of liberals for mock news broadcasts that relentlessly poke fun at politicians, mostly Republicans, and the news media, with the conservative Fox News Channel drawing special attention.

Around the world, viewers can watch a weekly compilation of The Daily Show on CNN International, and broadcasters in other countries such as Canada show full episodes. South African comedian Trevor Noah will take over from Stewart, who has yet to say what he will do next and declined comment on the poll.   Continued...

Comedians Jon Stewart (R) and Stephen Colbert sing during the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the Washington Mall, October 30, 2010.  REUTERS/Jason Reed