Nearly three-in-ten (28 percent) of Americans used their cell phones to track political news, trends or campaign coverage, up from 13 percent in 2010.
Voter turnout for the midterm elections on Nov. 4 plunged to a 72-year low, with only 36.4 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot, down from roughly 41 percent four years ago. But usage of mobile technology and social media platforms to get political news and information is up, according to a new Pew Research Center national survey.
Nearly three-in-ten (28 percent) of Americans used their cell phones to track political news, trends or campaign coverage, up from 13 percent in 2010, the Pew survey found. In addition, the number of Americans who follow candidates or other political figures on social media has surged from 6 percent in 2010 to 2013.
Millionaires on Twitter are more likely to follow political pundits (30 percent) and news commentators (41 percent) than they are athletes (22 percent) movie stars (15 percent) or even their own financial advisors (3 percent), according to a 2014 Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner study, “Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions.”
Not surprisingly, social media engagement is higher among younger respondents ages 35 and under. Half of these households—the highest percentage of Millionaires surveyed) said they follow political pundits. The most likely to follow news commentators on Twitter are those between the ages of 46-54 (48 percent).
Party affiliation is not a factor in mobile technology and social media participation in the digital campaign, the Pew survey found. Republicans and Democrats engage equally. But the findings do suggest a Republican wariness toward the so-called mainstream media. “Republicans and Republican-leaning independents express a greater desire to be the first to find out about breaking political news and to say that they use social media to get political information that has not passed through the traditional media ‘filter.’”
Mobile technology and social media usage to follow politics is tied to engagement with various aspects of the political process, Pew finds. Voters who follow political figures via social media are more likely than voters who do not to volunteer their time to a candidate or campaign (11 percent vs. 4 percent), to make a campaign contribution (21 percent vs. 11 percent) and to encourage their friends to support a candidate or issue at the polls (62 percent) vs. 39 percent).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.