Study: Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” Exit Helped Elect Trump

As ratings declined, researchers found an increase in Trump’s vote share

Jon Stewart's new political satire movie will be released in May.
Jon Stewart's new political satire movie will be released in May.
Brad Barket/Getty

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It’s no secret that Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show in 2015 was a disappointment to many, including people all across the political spectrum.

A new study claims it had a much greater effect: helping elect Donald Trump to the presidency.

The study, appropriately titled “Did Jon Stewart Elect Donald Trump? Evidence From Television Ratings Data,” was conducted by Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Thomas J.Wood of Ohio State University, and “looked at the effects of political comedy on the 2016 presidential election,” writes Fast Company.

As Trevor Noah took over as host, it’s common knowledge that ratings and viewership fell. But the research team found the hosting transition also “spurred a 1.1% increase in Trump’s vote share at the county level.”

“The researchers believe the effect was not to due to Stewart’s ability to change voters’ opinions about subjects, but rather his ability to get out the vote and help people realize how important it is to exercise that right,” writes Fast Company.

And in an election that was decided by less than 100,000 votes in three states, that decrease in liberal-leaning voters may have made all the difference.

So what do we do with this information? Wait to see if Stewart finds out and makes a return for 2020.

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