In the right corner, Glenn Beck, the emcee of a “Restoring Honor” rally in September that he claims attracted 500,000 Tea Party supporters to Washington. In the left, Jon Stewart, the faux anchorman who plans to host a “Rally to Restore Sanity” in the capital this month.
As they take their on-air rivalry to the streets, Stewart has the edge in appeal among Americans, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 7-10.
Stewart, the host of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” gets a favorable rating from 37 percent of the poll respondents. Beck, the Fox News host, is viewed favorably by 28 percent.
Their fans, the poll indicates, represent distinct groups. Admirers of one host mostly think little of the other one.
Among Americans who like Beck, 37 percent take a dim view of Stewart, compared with 29 percent who see him favorably.
Stewart’s enthusiasts have even a stronger reaction to Beck: 59 percent view him unfavorably, compared with 23 percent who have a positive opinion.
Beck’s favorable rating rises with the age of respondents, hitting 31 percent among people 55 and older. Beck does best among self-described Tea Party supporters: about two out of three view Beck favorably.
Stewart is popular with Democrats and people who are 35 years old or younger. Among Democrats and independents, Stewart is viewed favorably by 43 percent of respondents; just 20 percent of Republicans had that opinion.
The poll by Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. surveyed 1,000 Americans and has an error margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Beck’s Aug. 28 rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington was closely aligned with the Tea Party and featured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a speaker.
Backers of the anti-big-government movement have mixed views of Stewart, whose counter-Beck rally is scheduled for Oct. 30.
Thirty-four percent of Tea Party supporters say they have an unfavorable view of Stewart, versus 24 percent who view him favorably.
In the battle for television ratings, Beck wins, averaging 2.4 million viewers for his afternoon program so far this year, according to Nielsen Co. Stewart’s evening show averages 1.9 million viewers.
The bad news for both television personalities is that many Americans say they don’t know who they are: 35 percent aren’t familiar with Beck, and 42 percent for Stewart.