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The political profiles of newspapers: readership of News Corp Mastheads skews 10% to L-NP

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) July 2012 - June 2013.
Base: Australian Electors who provided a first preference vote (n = 37,301)
Index is based on a first preference vote norm in the sample period of 45% (L-NP), 36% (ALP), 11% (Greens) and 8% (Independent/Other).

The Masthead with the biggest Coalition skew in its readership is The Financial Review, followed by the Sunday Times and The West Australian in Perth, and News Corp’s Daily Telegraph, The Australian, Herald Sun, Courier-Mail and The Advertiser.

Readers of the Financial Review Masthead (via print, online or app) in an average week were 22% more likely to vote L-NP than the Australian average, Roy Morgan Research Readership data for the year to June 2013 shows. More than twice as many of the Fairfax publication’s readers vote L-NP as ALP (55% vs 27%). Readers of Perth’s Sunday Times are 19% more likely to vote L-NP; readers of The West Australian are also more likely (16%). Readers of either Perth publication are slightly more likely to vote L-NP than the WA average.

The majority of readers of News Corp’s Sydney, Melbourne and National Mastheads give their first preference vote to the L-NP. Readers of The Daily Telegraph are 15% more likely to vote L-NP and, despite having quite different target audiences, both The Australian’s and Herald Sun’s readers are 12% more likely to vote L-NP.

Likelihood of a Masthead’s reader voting L-NP

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) July 2012 - June 2013. Base: Australian Electors who provided a first preference vote (n = 37,301). Index is based on a first preference vote norm in the sample period of 45% (L-NP), 36% (ALP), 11% (Greens) and 8% (Independent/Other).

It’s a closer race in Brisbane and Adelaide, where readers of News Corp’s Courier-Mail or The Advertiser vote L-NP at a level 10% and 5% respectively above the Australian norm.

Aside from the Financial Review, readership of Fairfax publications leans away from the L-NP:

16% fewer readers of The Age and 7% fewer of the Sydney Morning Herald vote L-NP than average. At both the SMH and Age, however, the L-NP leads the ALP on first count (but the ALP wins on two-party preferred thanks to a hefty flow of Greens preferences.) 

Only at the Fairfax-owned Canberra Times (where readers are 26% less likely to vote L-NP) does the ALP lead on first preferences.

The Mercury in Tasmania is the only News Corp Masthead with a skew away from the L-NP. Its readers are 18% less likely than the Australian average (13% less likely than the Tasmanian average) to vote for the Coalition.

Overall, readers of a News Corp publication are 10% more likely to vote L-NP, 5% less likely to vote ALP and 21% less likely to vote Greens.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

There has been a lot of discussion lately about political bias in Australia’s newspapers. Some News Corp publications in particular have come under attack for their unashamed ‘anti-Rudd’ position.

“Based on over 50,000 interviews a year, the Roy Morgan Readership Survey gives an accurate and independent measure of newspaper and magazine readership figures, as well as detailed profiles of readers.  

“So while Media Watch and other commentators are better placed to scrutinise News Corp’s tone and content bias, our analysis of the political leanings of readers reveals a distinct skew toward the L-NP in six of seven News Corp publications.

There is a distinct correlation between the tone and content of newspapers and the political leanings of its readers. This is most apparent in cities where voters have a choice of either a local Fairfax or News Corp daily paper.       

“For instance, if a voter in Adelaide or Brisbane wants to pick up a local daily, there’s no choice: there’s only the News Corp paper. Each paper’s readership therefore much more closely matches the national (and state) norm for voting preferences than is the case with NSW and Victorian News Corp publications.    

“In Sydney and Melbourne, voters can choose between a local Fairfax and News Corp publication. So the readerships are more divergent, and the Mastheads cater to more distinct audiences.

“The majority of Herald Sun readers and Daily Telegraph readers vote L-NP, but no single party is in the majority among readers of The Age or Sydney Morning Herald.”


Roy Morgan Research has Electorate Profiles and Voting Intention Demographics available for download now. Please click on this link to the Roy Morgan Online Store.

For comments or further detail, please contact:

Michele Levine

Chief Executive Officer

Telephone: (03) 9224 5215

Mobile: 0411 129 093

About Roy Morgan Research:

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Indonesia. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has more than 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on print media measurement, financial behaviour, voting intention and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.