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Friending Barack or Mitt, Hil or John -- How is Facebook affecting the Presidential Race?

Posted by: Reena Jana on January 14, 2008

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press, in association with the Pew Internet and American Life Project, just released some interesting stats on how Americans are using social-networking sites to learn about the presidential campaign.

The survey, conducted in December 2007, found that 27% of people under 30 have gotten information about candidates from social-networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Nearly one-tenth (8%) of people aged 18-24 have signed up as “friends” of presidential candidates.

The story’s different among thirty-somethings: Americans between the ages of 30-39, although they’re increasingly signing up and using Facebook and MySpace, aren’t using these sites to find campaign information. Although 21% of Gen X-ers in this age group use social networking sites, only 4% have gotten campaign info from them, and only 3% have friended a candidate.

Online video, available on sites such as YouTube, is also making an impact. A quarter of all Americans surveyed by Pew say they've watched campaign-related video online. Even among those ages 65 and older, 7% have done so.

But TV isn't dead yet. Sixty percent of all people surveyed say they get most of their presidential election news from TV (in all forms, from local to cable and network outlets). While that's down from 68% at comparable points in the 2004 and 2000 campaigns, only 15% of those polled say use the Web for their primary campaign new source. Still, that figure has more than doubled since 2004, when only 6% said they relied on Web sites as their main news sources for campaign and candidate info.



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