Television remains the top source for political election coverage for consumers and is cited by voters as the most important media for deciding which way to vote, according to a new study from
Mindshare about media habits defining the 2012 campaign season.
The WPP-owned agency conducted a nationally representative online survey of 1,032 adults in late September.
While much has been made of declining broadcast network news ratings in recent years, the Mindshare survey showed that TV was the go-to medium for election coverage. Sixty percent of respondents said they tuned to broadcast network news coverage of the presidential race -- more than any other medium.
Cable TV news was cited as the second-most-favored medium for keeping up with politics. Fifty-three percent said they used the medium for doing so.
Neither the Internet or newspapers was ranked third. Rather, it was word of mouth.
Specifically, 50% cited “talking with friends and family” as the third-most-important way they keep up with the political races. The agency said the finding reinforces a trend it
pinpointed in a separate survey earlier this year: One-on-one human interaction is becoming increasingly important for decision-making “in a world that is more complex, tech-based and
Slightly more Americans have followed the presidential election via online channels (25%) than by reading a national newspaper (22%). Some 21% said they have followed politics via social media and 20% said they have done so by reading magazine articles.
Ten percent of respondents indicated that they were not following the election coverage at all.
Millennials are nearly twice as likely (19%) to follow the presidential election via video on tablet computers than the average adult (10%). Younger adults are also most likely for keep up with events via their mobile phones.
The survey found more Republicans are following the election coverage via social networks and online news content. “We believe this is partly a function of Republicans’ higher income skew,” and thus the ability to afford devices to access the newer media, the agency surmised.
The single most important factor in deciding who to vote for in the presidential contest is seeing the candidates talk on national TV, per the survey. Emails from the candidates were deemed least important in decision making.
Sixty percent of those polled said they planned to watch the presidential debates live on TV, while one-third of respondents said they also planned to watch TV news summary coverage after the debates.