GUESSWORK

Rush’s Real Audience

So, how many people actually listen to Rush Limbaugh, anyway? Pat Buchanan says 30 million; Rush himself says 20 million; others go as low as 14.2 million. Audience measurer Arbitron has never publicly released a national estimate for the nation’s most popular talk-radio host, and calculations of the true number “are exercises in guesswork, slippery methodology and suspect data,” The Washington Post reports. The trouble is Limbaugh’s patchwork radio empire: The 600 stations that carry his show don’t all carry it at the same time or for the full duration—and what about his overseas listeners? The Post concludes, “Whatever the number, not all of Limbaugh’s listeners are the ardent ideological followers known as ‘Dittoheads.’”