There is no doubt that this year’s presidential election is going to come down to the last vote. While every election is important, this one seems more so in a lot of people’s eyes. As a result, voters will be hanging on every word said between now and November. However, the way we listen to these words has changed a lot over the years. Beginning four years ago, the world of political races has changed dramatically thanks to the internet. And in 2012, we will continue to see more messages being disseminated on the internet and more information there as well.
It used to be that most of us got information regarding politics from newspapers or from the nightly news. However, that is no longer the case. In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans now say that they learn something about a campaign from their high speed internet service. On account of the government’s rural recovery program rural households all over the nation are gaining the same access to information via high speed broadband that urban areas have had for years. This number is up dramatically from 2004 in which only 13% of voters turned to broadband internet services for information regarding a candidate.
It seems that more and more, the internet is becoming the place where young voters turn to when looking for the latest in political news. In fact, more than 42% of voters who are between the ages of 18 and 29 say that they regularly get information about the campaign from the internet which is the highest percentage of any news source. This is more than double the number of people who say they got information regarding a campaign from the internet in the election of 2004.
Other surveys have shown that the number of people who rely on traditional news sources for information has steadily declined over the last several years. In fact, since the 2000 campaign, local TV news is down eight points, nightly network news is down thirteen points, and daily newspapers are down nine points in terms of news sources for political information. Since 2000, the only other news source to show growth, other than the internet, is National Public Radio.
People who use high speed internet service for information on the campaign usually visit several different websites. The ones which are visited the most often include MSNBC, CNN and Yahoo News. Others go to sites which are not typical news outlets including the Drudge Report or MySpace and YouTube. This includes those who visit sites to watch videos of debates, speeches or commercials from those running for office. This practice is seen especially in those who fall below the age of thirty. In fact, roughly four out of ten voters under the age of thirty have watched at least some form of a campaign video online as opposed to just two in ten for those over the age of thirty.
This information means that candidates have had to change the way that they appeal to young voters and must be technology savvy. It also means much more pressure on candidates as anything and everything that they say will almost immediately be available for download somewhere along the information superhighway.