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  • 1. The State of the Internet and Politics, 2010Overview of Pew Internet Project ResearchDCI GroupApril 14, 2011
  • 2. About the Pew Internet & American Life Project
    Funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts
    Part of the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan “fact tank” in Washington, DC
    Study of how technology is shaping society and individuals
    Provide high quality, objective data to thought leaders and policy makers
    Do not promote specific technologies or make policy recommendations
    Our research is based on nationally representative telephone surveys of:
    Adults 18+ (teens data based on 12-17 year olds)
    Drawn from dual-frame (landline + cell) samples
    Includes Spanish-language interviews
    4/14/2011
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    Internet and Politics
  • 3. Key takeaways from our 2010 research
    More than half of all adults took part in info seeking or political action using online tools in the 2010 midterms, and the internet continues to grow as a source of political news
    “If you’re on, you’re in”. Interest in politics + access to basic social media tools = engagement via social media (regardless of age or political affiliation)
    As in other venues (e.g. health, general news consumption) we see a reliance on “people like me” to help evaluate info and make decisions
    Led by young adults, mobile politics began to play a more prominent role
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  • 4. The Big Numbers: 73 and 54
    73% of internet users (representing 54% of all adults) went online to get news or information about the 2010 midterm elections, or to get involved in the campaign in one way or another
    This includes anyone who did one or more of the following:
    Get political news online – 58% of online adults looked online for news about politics or the 2010 campaigns, and 32% of online adults got most of their 2010 campaign news from online sources.
    Go online to take part in specific political activities, such as watch political videos, share election-related content or “fact check” political claims – 53% of adult internet users did at least one of the eleven online political activities we measured in 2010.
    Use Twitter or social networking sites for political purposes – One in five online adults (22%) used Twitter or a social networking site for political purposes in 2010
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  • 5. Themes for 2010: As we see every year, the internet’s role in politics is “bigger but different”
  • 6. The relative value of the internet to politically active citizens is increasing
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  • 7. Use of online sources is up significantly among nearly all groups since 2002
    4/14/2011
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  • 8. The relative value of the internet to politically active citizens is increasing
    % of internet users who get political news online
    4/14/2011
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  • 9. Americans hold conflicting views about the internet’s impact
    Majorities of internet users agree with the following statements:
    “The internet makes it easier to connect with others who share their views politically” (esp. Latinos, political social networkers, young adults)
    “The internet increases the influence of those with extreme political views” (esp. Democrats & Tea Party detractors, no major political tech differences)
    “The internet exposes people to a wider range of political views than they can get in the traditional news media” (esp. political social networkers, those younger than 50, college grads)
    “It is usually difficult for them to tell what is true from what is not true when it comes to the political information they find online.” (declines with online political engagement)
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  • 10. Increasing reliance on “people like me” for political information
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  • 11. Themes for 2010: The changing face of politically-engaged social networkers
  • 12. This is where I point out that you have to view the internet in the broader political context
    2008: “Hey Dad, check out my profile on BarackObama.com”
    2010: “Son, I need you to get off the computer so I can see if there are any Facebookupdates from my Tea Party Patriots group”
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  • 13. How voters used social networking sites and Twitter in 2010
    35% of social networking site users (21% of online adults) used these sites for political reasons in 2010
    Discover who friends voted for (18%)
    Get campaign/candidate info (14%)
    Post content related to campaign (13%)
    Friend a candidate or other political group (11%)
    Join a political group or cause (10%)
    Start their own political group or cause (2%)
    28% of Twitter users (2% of online adults) used Twitter politically in 2010
    Get candidate/campaign info (16%)
    Follow election results in real time (12%)
    Follow a candidate or other political group (11%)
    Include links to political content in their own tweets (9%)
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  • 14. Older adults: less likely to use SNS in general, but just as active once they get there
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  • 15. To the extent older adults used these sites, they were as active as younger users
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  • 16. Partisan splits from 2008 vanished in 2010
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  • 17. Partisan splits from 2008 vanished in 2010
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  • 18. Partisan splits from 2008 vanished in 2010
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  • 19. Partisan splits from 2008 vanished in 2010
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  • 20. Social media = “Faster and More Connected”
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  • 21. Themes for 2010: The emergence of mobile politics
  • 22. Mobile politics
    26% of all American adults used their cell phones for political purposes in 2010:
    14% used their cell phones to tell others that they voted
    12% used their cell phones to keep up with news about the election or politics
    10% sent text messages relating to the election to friends, family members and others
    6% used their cells to let others know about conditions at their local voting stations on election day
    4% used their phones to monitor results of the election as they occurred
    3% used their cells to shoot and share photos or videos related to the election
    1% used a cell-phone app that provided updates from a candidate or group about election news
    1% contributed money by text message to a candidate or group connected to the election like a party or interest group.
    Demographic groups with high usage rates include young adults, African-Americans and those with some college experience or a college degree
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  • 23. No clear partisan splits in the “mobile political user” group
    Voting was evenly split (44%/44%) between Republican and Democratic candidates
    Party ID mirrors overall population, as does political ideology
    27% Republican
    35% Democrat
    32% Independent
    Evenly split on attitudes towards Tea Party movement
    34% agree/strongly agree
    32% disagree/strongly disagree
    Went to polls in greater numbers than overall population, although one in five say they did not vote
    Democrats and Republicans engaged w/ their phones in similar ways, with Democratic voters a bit more likely to:
    Text message others about the campaign
    Inform others that they voted using their cell phones
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  • 24. Main differences relate to age, not political attitudes
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  • 25. Open for comments/questions!
    name: Aaron Smith
    title: Senior Research Specialist
    email: asmith@pewinternet.org
    web: www.pewinternet.org
    twitter: @aaron_w_smith, @pew_internet
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