In addition to using a range of devices for their election news, many political news consumers take full advantage of the range of content the internet has to offer. To be sure, the online presences of big network news organizations such as CNN are the single-most commonly visited genre of online news site, as 64% of online political users went to these sites during election season. Still, many political news consumers travel well beyond the major news sites in their quest for political information and analysis. Among online political users:
- 64% got news or information about the November elections from network TV websites such as cnn.com, abcnews.com or msnbcnews.com. Despite their relative lack of interest in video news, younger online political users flock to the online presences of mainstream video news outlets: 72% of 18-29 year olds, 69% of 30-49 year olds, 52% of those age 50-64 and 38% of online political users age 65 and up visit these sites for political news and information. Obama voters also make great use of these sites: 70% of Obama-supporting online political users do so, compared with 56% of McCain voters.
- 54% visited portal news services like Google news or Yahoo news. Two-thirds (66%) of online political users under the age of 30 visit these sites for election news, as do 71% of Twitter users and 58% of Obama supporters. Mobile internet users also rely heavily on these sites.
- 43% visited the websites of local news organizations.
- 40% read someone else’s commentary on the campaign on an online news group, website or blog, led by those under the age of 30 and social media aficionados.
- 34% visited the websites of major national newspapers such as USA Today, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Men, college graduates and wireless internet users are especially interested in this type of news.
- 26% visited blogs that cover news, politics or the media. Democrats and users of other social media tools such as Twitter and social networking sites are particularly fond of reading blogs.
- 24% each visited issue-oriented websites; the website of a state or local government; or the website of an international news organization, such as the BBC. Online political users under the age of 30, college graduates, Obama voters and political independents frequently go online for an international perspective on the political news of the day.
- 21% each visited the website of a radio news organization like npr.org; or a fact-checking site such as snopes.com, factcheck.org or polifact.com. Democratic voters and political independents are especially likely to go online to visit the website of a radio organization.
- 19% visited news satire websites like The Onion or the Daily Show. More than one-quarter (27%) of online political users under the age of 30 visit these sites, although one in five 30-49 year olds (21%) do so as well. Republicans, on the other hand, stay away from these sites in droves—just one in ten Republican online political users visit news satire websites, compared with 26% of Democrats and 21% of independents.
- 12% visited the website of an alternative news organization such as alternet.org or newsmax.com. Men are twice as likely to visit these sites as women: 16% of male online political users has done so, compared with just 8% of women.
Online political news junkies don’t just read a wide range of online news sources in the aggregate, many also visit a wide range of sources on an individual level as well. Among those who got election news from one or more of the thirteen specific sources listed above:
- 13% visited just one source
- 13% visited two sources
- 14% visited three sources
- 15% visited four sources
- 10% visited five sources
- 35% visited six or more sources
Put another way, 87% of political news consumers sought out multiple genres of online news over the course of the election. Men, young adults, those who are affiliated with the Democratic party and those with high levels of income and education tend to be the most intense online news consumers.
In addition to ranging far and wide for political content online, the most intense online news consumers also rely on a host of social media tools to help them find, comment on and share the news that they find online. Online political users who visit a wide range of different sources for political news are significantly more likely to: post their own political content online, use online social networking sites for political purposes, watch online political videos, customize their political news using RSS feeds and other tools, and share the information they find online with others.