"In "The West Wing" and other popular political dramas, complex crises are often wrapped up in an hour -- minus commercial time -- after some sharp-witted debate and decisive action by the president and his, or her, staff.
Of more than 1,200 viewers polled after watching a recent live debate on "The West Wing," twice as many expressed interest in watching the fictional characters over real candidates.
"On 'Commander in Chief' and, 'West Wing' in particular, it helps people understand the political process," said Rosenthal. "I think what it does is humanize the decision-making process and deals with both side of the issues, usually. I think what it does is create some conversation about it, but I don't think it brings about a political shift."
Whether people like "The West West" and the "Commander in Chief" or not, are the ratings helping President Bush?