The internet is living up to its potential as a major source for news about the presidential campaign. Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say they regularly learn something about the campaign from the internet, almost the double the percentage from a comparable point in the 2004 campaign (13%).
Moreover, the internet has now become a leading source of campaign news for young people and the role of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook is a notable part of the story. Fully 42% of those ages 18 to 29 say they regularly learn about the campaign from the internet, the highest percentage for any news source. In January 2004, just 20% of young people said they routinely got campaign news from the internet.
The quadrennial survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Internet & American Life Project on campaign news and political communication, conducted Dec. 19-30 among 1,430 adults, shows that the proportion of Americans who rely on traditional news sources for information about the campaign has remained static or declined slightly since the last presidential campaign. Compared with the 2000 campaign, far fewer Americans now say they regularly learn about the campaign from local TV news (down eight points), nightly network news (down 13 points) and daily newspapers (down nine points). Cable news networks are up modestly since 2000, but have shown no growth since the 2004 campaign.