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Voters Increasingly Turn to Social Media for Political News

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Mobile and social media are playing a larger role in how voters get political information, according to survey results from the Pew Research Center.

The survey, which included phone interviews of 2,003 people 18 and older, indicates that the number of people using cell phones to track political news has doubled for this year’s midterm election. Twenty-eight percent of registered voters tracked campaign coverage on their cell phones, up from 13 percent in 2010.

When broken down by age, 40 percent of those ages 30 to 49 are using their cell phones to track the election; 21 percent also follow on social media. This behavior was not affected by political affiliation. In fact, both Republicans and Democrats said they used social media to get breaking news without the traditional media “filter.”

Sixteen percent of registered voters also follow political candidates, elected officials or political parties on social media. And those who follow political figures are more engaged in the political process, according to the report. Political social media followers are more likely to volunteer their time for a campaign, make campaign contributions, attend a political event and encourage their friends to support a specific candidate.

political news

According to the report, 41 percent of respondents say getting breaking news before anyone else was a “major reason” for following political figures social media — up from 21 percent in 2010. Thirty-five percent want to feel connected to the candidates or groups. Twenty-six percent said that they wanted reliable information other than what was available from traditional sources.

For more details, check out the full report.

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