Pew: Almost Half Of Web Users Seek Political Info Online

by , Jan 18, 2007, 6:00 AM
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More than 60 million Americans, or 46% of Web users, went online during the last campaign season to exchange e-mails about candidates or learn about the elections. That's according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The report, "Election 2006 Online," also stated that far more U.S. adults relied on the Web for information last election cycle than during the 2002 mid-term elections. For the report, Pew surveyed 2,562 American adults late last year. When asked to name the two most primary sources of political information, 15% of respondents cited the Internet--up from 7% in 2002.

That increase doesn't appear to have come at the expense of other media. On the contrary the proportion of respondents relying on television, newspapers, radio and magazines also increased from 2002. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they relied on TV for election-related news, up from 66% in 2002; newspapers were cited by 34%, up from 33% four years ago; radio was cited by 17%, up from 13%; and magazines were cited by 2%, up from 1%. Reliance on all media except radio was higher during the 2004 presidential elections.

Not surprisingly, younger Americans with home broadband connections are especially likely to rely on the Web. Pew found that 35% of respondents under 36 with broadband at home report that the Web was their main source of political news during last year's elections; just 18% of that group said the same about newspapers.

Pew also reported that a small group--about 11% of Web users, or 7% of the U.S. population--are actively contributing to online political discussions, such as by posting their own commentary or forwarding others' posts, including audio and video files.

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