Campaign Coverage: Voters Are Phoning It In

The proportion of registered U.S. voters using cell phones to track political news/campaign coverage has doubled since 2010 to 28% of registered voters, and users of both cell phones and social media sites to monitor politics say that is because they feel the info is more reliable than from traditional news sites.

That is according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The number of registered voters who follow candidates and other politicians on social media has more than doubled in the same time period, from 6% to 16%.

The major reason cited by the most respondents (41%) for using social media to follow politics is finding out the news before others, followed by feeling more personally connected to the candidates or political figures (35% cited it as a major reason), and 26% said a major reason was that it was more reliable than traditional news outlets.

The biggest uptick in the use of cell phones to monitor campaigns and politicians came in the 30-49 age group at 40%, up from just 15% in 2010.

There does not appear to be a political divide, with Republicans and Democrats doing mobile and social media monitoring at the same rate.

The study is based on telephone interviews Oct. 15-20 of 2,003 adults 18 or older (1,494 registered voters). The total sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5% points (2.9% for registered voters) with a 95% degree of confidence (meaning if the poll were repeated multiple times, 95% of those would produce results within that 2.5% margin).

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.