Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The PEW Research Center Internet and American Life Project has released its findings on the role of the Internets in Campaign 2004:
Last year was a breakout year for the role of the internet in politics. Fully 75 million Americans – 37% of the adult population and 61% of online Americans – used the internet to get political news and information, discuss candidates and debate issues in emails, or participate directly in the political process by volunteering or giving contributions to candidates. The online political news consumer population grew dramatically from previous election years (up from 18% of the U.S. population in 2000 to 29% in 2004), and there was an increase of more than 50% between 2000 and 2004 in the number of registered voters who cited the internet as one of their primary sources of news about the presidential campaign . . . .
For online Americans, the internet is now a more important source of campaign news and information than radio: 28% of internet users cited the internet as a prime source of campaign news compared to 17% of them who cited radio. For those with broadband at home (a group comprising 27% of the overall U.S. population) the internet rivals newspapers as a major source of campaign news and information: 38% of those with broadband at home cited the internet as a major source of political news, compared to 36% of them who cited newspapers . . . .
49% of all internet users (and 56% of those who get political news online) said “the internet has raised the overall quality of public debate” during the campaign and only 5% said the internet lowered the quality of debate. Some 36% said the internet did not make much of a difference.