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I’m not sure which number is worse, the fact that  a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll reports that MSNBC is not a very popular source for political news, or that same poll reporting that many of MSNBC’s key talking heads are unknown by most of the country.

According to the poll, most Americans (81%)  get their news about the midterm elections from cable channels, like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or their websites, to a lesser extent (71%) the get their news from the broadcast networks, such as ABC, NBC or CBS, and their websites.

Amongst the cable news sources, Americans clearly prefer Fox to its more liberal counterpart CNN (42% to 30%) and MSNBC picks up the rear with only 12% ,

The results show the growing influence that 24-hour cable news has on shaping the political consciousness, despite the fact that network newscasts still draw many multiples of the number of viewers of even the highest-rated cable news shows.

“Because people can tune into cable at any time of day, I think the cumulative audience is probably larger than the cumulative audience for the three network news shows,” said Chris Arterton, dean of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

The results of the poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 also reflect a trend that many commentators and media analysts find disconcerting: Voters are turning to media sources that reinforce their political worldviews rather than present them with more objective reporting that might challenge their assumptions.

Local sources remain a key source for political news, which makes sense on many levels.  It is those local news sources that cover key local news beyond politics.  For example if garbage day is going to move from Tuesday to Monday, you can only find that kind of information in local papers.  Additionally local papers tend to have strong coverage of scholastic sports and hyper-local politics. These papers have a built in audience an readers believe that as locals, the news sources in the immediate areas understand their needs more than a national medium.

Despite steady declines in circulation over the past decade, newspapers are more influential than national news broadcasts when it comes to news on the upcoming election, with 72 percent of respondents saying they turn to newspapers or their websites.

Local news did better, at 73 percent, and conversations with friends and family was the second-most-cited source, at 79 percent. Radio was cited by only 58 percent of respondents, and non-newspaper websites and blogs by 39 percent.

The Survey also took a look at individual media personalities and reported that Americans don’t really know just who in the hell is on MSNBC 70% of Americans never heard of Ed Schultz, 55% never heard of Rachel Maddow and 42% of lucky Americans never heard of Keith Olbermann.

Fox’s opinionated personalities were also rated as having the greatest positive impact on the political debate in the country. Bill O’Reilly was rated as having, by far, the greatest positive impact, with 49 percent of respondents rating him positively, and 32 percent negatively.

Glenn Beck was the second most-positively rated personality, with 38 percent of respondents saying he had a positive impact, and 32 percent saying he had a negative impact.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was the third-most-positively ranked, with 36 percent saying he has a positive impact on the discourse, but his negatives far outweighed his positives, with 52 percent saying he has a negative impact.

Many of the MSNBC broadcasters like to brag about the major effect they are having.  Maybe they are talking about Mars, because the numbers show very little of America even knows about the Progressive News Network.

This is a repudiation of the MSNBC strategy of pushing the liberal agenda, when the Comcast sale becomes “official” look for major changes at the network.  Comcast as a company prefers ratings and revenue to promoting a political agenda.

Scott Baker has more at The Blaze

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