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The Numbers Behind the Music

The White House Music Series fetes Nashville tonight, with three country superstars serenading the first family. Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss and Union Station and Charley Pride take to the stage this evening, playing a style of music that was the favorite of more than one in five Americans, according to an Associated Press-Rolling Stone poll conducted in 2006.

Country (22 percent) ranked just behind rock-and-roll (26 percent) among Americans' favorite genres, followed by classical at 10 percent. Hip-hop (7 percent), pop (6 percent) and R&B (4 percent) - staples of Top 40 radio - all lagged behind, while 7 percent cited jazz, the style celebrated by the Obamas at their first White House Music Series event in June.

As with almost anything that happens at the White House, partisan biases may emerge. By kicking the series off with jazz, the Obamas chose a genre cited as their favorite by 10 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, though just 4 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed. Tonight's country party may balance the scale. Among Republicans, it tied rock-and-roll as the top type of music (27 percent), but was the favorite for fewer Democrats (19 percent).

Q. What is your favorite type of music to listen to? Would you say...rock-and-roll, country/western, classical, jazz, hip hop or rap, pop, rhythm and blues, blues, folk?

                         Leaned       Leaned 
                 All   Republicans   Democrats
Rock-and-roll    26        27           26
Country/Western  22        27           19
Classical        10        10            9
Jazz              7         4           10
Hip hop or rap    7         7            7
Pop               6         6            6
Rhythm and blues  4         1            7
Blues             2         1            3
Folk              1         0            2
Other (Vol.)     10        10           10
Don't listen
 to music (Vol.)  4         4            2
Not sure          1         1            1

SOURCE: AP-Rolling Stone poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, Jan. 23-25, 2006 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  July 21, 2009; 6:03 PM ET
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