Katie Couric Polling Poorly

The bad news just keeps coming for CBS anchor Katie Couric. First she was trashed in a very public way in the Philadelphia Inquirer, next it was let out that the man she replaced, Bob Schieffer, was probably behind the attacks. Now comes news that she lags quite a bit behind her ABC and NBC rivals in public opinion polls:

One-third of Americans say
they have a negative view of Katie Couric, her personal popularity
lagging behind rivals Charles Gibson and Brian Williams just as her
evening news program trails in the ratings.

The Gallup Poll survey released Thursday found that 51
percent of Americans said they had a positive view of Couric, who
jumped from NBC's "Today" show to CBS last fall.

The poll found Gibson and Williams essentially running
neck-and-neck in terms of popularity. ABC's Gibson was viewed
positively by 62 percent of TV viewers and NBC's Williams by 59
percent, but that is within the sampling's margin of error of plus or
minus 4 percentage points.

That also mirrors the competition between the anchors in the
television ratings. Gibson began the evening job last spring, and
trailed Williams consistently for the rest of 2006. But in the past
three months ABC's "World News" has logged the most viewers during
eight weeks, while NBC's "Nightly News" won four weeks. [...]

She's handicapped by the
number of people — 29 percent in this poll — who explained their
negative opinion by saying they simply "don't like her," Gallup said.
Once one of the most popular personalities in TV news, her negative
ratings crept up during her final years at "Today."

At least people know who she is. Only 13 percent of the
respondents said they had never heard of Couric, compared to 19 percent
each for Gibson and Williams.

Gibson (16 percent) and Williams (18 percent) had much
smaller negative ratings. Some in the news business believe the amiable
Gibson has improved ABC's ratings because he's easier to listen to in a
period of bad news.

The Gallup poll found 13 percent of the people who said they
didn't like Williams citing "too much negative reporting." That
explanation wasn't offered by people who said they didn't like Couric
or Gibson.

It's obvious what Couric needs to do here. She needs to listen to the voice of the American people and withdraw from the anchor desk. Have CBS come up with an exit strategy to stop the bloodletting.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013