Mark Blumenthal | April 16, 2009
In case you have not yet seen it, the Pew Internet and American Life Project just released a new report on The Internet's Role in Campaign 2008. I have only had a chance to review the summary, but it is well worth the click (the full report is available here). While they attempt to quantify and track a wide range of political activity on the Internet, these two paragraphs from the summary provide striking confirmation of the trends roiling the conventional anews media:
As the overall size of the online political news audience has grown, the internet has taken a front-and-center role within the media environment. Among the entire population, the internet is now on par with newspapers as a major source of campaign news -- 26% of all adults get most of their election news from the internet, compared with 28% who get their election news from newspapers -- although television remains the dominant source of political news in this country.
For internet users and those under the age of 50, the internet plays an even more central role. Fully 35% of those who use the internet get most of their election news online (compared with 25% who point to newspapers), while 34% of both 18-29 year olds and 30-49 year olds rely on the internet, compared with the 20% of those in each age group who rely on newspapers as a major source of campaign news.
The summary also reviews data shwoing that "politically-active internet users," especially those under 30, "are moving away from news sites with no point of view to sites that match their politics views."
And do not overlook the methodology. Unlike the monthly political surveys produced by the Pew Research Center, the survey used to produce this report did not include cell phone sampling, so it may slightly understate Internet use among younger voters:
These results come from a national telephone survey of 2,254 American adults between November 20 and December 4, 2008...This sample was gathered entirely on landline phones. There was no extra sample of cell-phone users, who tend to be younger and slightly more likely to be internet users.
And speaking of the Pew Research Center and its groundbreaking work conducting political surveys via cell-phone, I will be attending their presentation later this afternoon on "Practical Issues in Cell Phone Polling," hosted by AAPOR's DC Chapter. Although "breaking news" is rare at these sorts of presentations, I may pass along a though or two via Twitter, then (hopefully) blog more later.