New Pew Survey: The Internet in Campaign 2008
April 16, 2009
The crazy-productive folks at Pew’s Internet and American Life project have a new survey published looking at The Internet’s Role in Campaign 2008.
There’s a lot of fun results to mine for anybody interested in political news consumption, participation and engagement via the Internet. I still need to read it more closely, but some of my favorite sound-bites so far:
- ~20% of those surveyed posted political commentary or content online
- ~20% of those surveyed reported seeking news sources that challenged their point of view
- A handy chart comparing where self-identified democrats and republicans get their online news. Statistically significant differences are marked with a “^” (Hint: look at CNN, Fox, Radio, and the Internet). Caveat: see my methodological comments below before interpreting this too deeply.
- This staggering time-series graph illustrating the decline of newspapers as a primary source of political news over the past 10 years or so (respondents were only allowed to mention their top two sources of news)
On a methodological note, it’s interesting that the surveyors chose to conduct the survey via land-line telephones only.
Some of you might recall that Pew also published some really interesting data in the middle of the campaign season suggesting that cell-only voters are disproportionately young, democratic, and Internet users.
Despite the fact that the surveyors weighted their results to try to reflect the demographics of telephone users in the U.S. as a whole, I take that to imply that the numbers in this latest survey should provide a conservative estimate the total Internet use in the population as a whole. At the same time, I think it undermines some of the comparisons between democratic and republican voters based on the land-line only data.