Political Junkies Getting Online Fix
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Twenty-six million Americans of voting age got news or information about politics online this summer, an increase of almost 20 percent over the same period two years ago.
That corresponds to 19 percent of adult Internet users, or 13 percent of all Americans over the age of 18.
This is a high point in the number of Internet users turning to cyberspace on the average day for political news or information, noted John Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project and study author.
This is even more surprising given that it outdoes the 21 million people in the last Pew Internet Project conducted during the November 2004 Presidential election.
Another notable trend, said Horrigan, is that voters in the 18- to 29-year old age group were more likely to get political news online than other age groups.
Twenty-two percent of Internet users aged 18 to 29 got political news online, three basis points higher than average for the survey.
"That's a fairly new pattern," said Horrigan.
"The Internet is drawing young people into the pool of interested political news consumers in a way that wasn't the case a couple of years ago," he said.
Those numbers are even more revealing when compared to a similar point in the 2002 mid-term election cycle.
In July 2002, approximately 11 million Americans, or 13 percent of online users, said they got some news or information about politics and the campaign from the Internet on the average day.
That makes the August 2006 number nearly two-and-a-half times larger than the mid-summer 2002 figure.
Horrigan said he was also surprised by the sheer number of people reading up on politics during the traditionally slow summer months of a mid-term election year.
Horrigan said there is a strong correlation between the people who get their information online are in all likelihood the ones will vote.
"Online information can set people into motion more than traditional media," Horrigan said.