Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Voters Unite in Interest, Differ on News Sources

This presidential election cycle has grabbed the public's attention, whether via TV or social media, in an unprecedented way. The most recent Pew Research Center survey finds that 91% of Americans have already tuned into election information--a higher level of learning about presidential candidates than at the same point in the past two presidential elections. Yet, while united in overall interest, the electorate differs widely on which media are the most helpful sources of information, with no one source gaining more than a quarter of adult favor-- so campaigns definitely can't put all their eggs in one media basket. Overall, voters rate cable TV news as the most helpful (24%), followed by social media (14%) and local TV (14%). At the bottom (1%) is candidate or campaign digital outreach via website/app/e-mail. Unsurprisingly, preferences are affected by age, education level and political party, Pew reports. Cable television is most popular with those 65 and older and Republicans, while soical media is the favorite information source of 18- to 29-year-olds. Just as important for campaign planners is the fact that the majority of voters learn about the presidential election from multiple sources ( 45% from five or more and 35% from three or four), compared with only 9% who get information from just one source. TV still tops the media mix, with 78% of Americans saying they learned about the presidential reace from at least one of the four TV-based sources (cable news, local news, national network news, late-night comedy). Another 65% list a digital platform as one of their information sources (news website, social site, issue-based site/app/e-mail or campaign group site/app/e-mail). Print newspapers are at the bottom of the information heap (cited by 36%). And before investing in a broad social media push, campaigns also should note that Facebook far outranks other sites as a political source (37% of the public). In contrast, Trump's go-to Twitter is sourced by just 9%. For more detail, read http://www.journalism.org/2016/02/04/the-2016-presidential-campaign-a-news-event-thats-hard-to-miss/

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