How Social Media Impacted Voting

By David Radd

Posted November 8, 2012



According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project, 22 percent of registered voters have let others know how they voted on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter. Before the election, some 25 percent of the supporters of Barack Obama have posted their presidential preference and 20 percent of backers of Mitt Romney have done so.

The study found that 30 percent of registered voters have been encouraged to vote for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney by family and friends via posts on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Also, 20 percent of registered voters have encouraged others to vote by posting on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter.

“More broadly, registered voters have used a variety of methods to talk to others about voting. Below are the ways that people are hearing from their family and friends, encouraging them to vote,” posts Pew's Lee Rainie. “There is no overall partisan tilt to one candidate or the other when it comes to the 'go vote' messages people are getting from their friends and family through various channels. Equal shares of registered voters were encouraged by their friends to vote for each candidate in each kind of communication.”

Other revelations show that nearly half have heard from family and friends in face-to-face conversations in the last 30 days that they should vote for either candidate, while younger voters ages 18-29 were considerably more likely than others to have heard in face-to-face conversations from others in their circles about voting for Obama.

Other channels include postings on social networking sites, where 30 percent heard from family and friends to vote either way, while 29 percent have heard from family and friends in phone conversations in the last 30 days that they should vote for either candidate. 21 percent had heard from family and friends in emails in the last 30 days that they should vote for either candidate and 11 percent have heard from family and friends in text messages that they should vote for either candidate.

“Finally, 22 percent of registered voters have announced on a social networking site or Twitter how they voted or planned to vote. Some 29 percent of those under age 50 have announced to their networks through social media how they voted or planned to vote, compared with 17 percent of those 50 and older who have revealed their vote by social media,” said Rainie. “In all, those who did any of these activities related to getting messages about voting, sending out such messages, or posting their presidential choice on a social media site are part of our calculation of the 'social vote' cohort. And that comes to 74 percent of registered voters.”

Source: PewInternet.org





 


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