Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

February 17, 2012 11:59 AM

Where We Get Our News, Political and Otherwise

When asked to name their two main sources for national news, here is how Americans answered. The numbers in the column titled “2008” represent the results from 3.5 years earlier and show a substantial change over that period. Notable is the drop in the role of daily newspapers and the increase in attention to Fox News Channel, websites of news organizations, and news pages of ISPs.

  2011 2008
Daily newspapers 27% 45%
Local TV news 20%  
FOX News Channel 20% 13%
CNN 18%  
Websites of news orgs 16% 5%
News pages of ISPs (i.e. Yahoo or MSN) 10% 5%
NPR 9%  
ABC Network 9%  
NBC Network 7%  
CBS Network 7%  
Talk radio 4%  
General radio news 4%  
News magazines (i.e. Time, USNews) 4%  
Sunday news shows 1%  
Opinion websites (i.e. Drudge or Slate) 1%  
Morning TV shows *  
Political talk shows *  
Public TV news shows (i.e McNeil Lehrer) *  
Opinion magazines (i.e Weekly Standard ) *  
Religious radio
Comedy shows *  
Late night TV *  
Other 17%  

[11/7-9/2011- national sample by a pollster WW respects]

When it comes to the primary source of campaign news, cable news leads the way. This is where Americans follow campaigns and candidates. Notable is the drop in local TV news, network news, and local newspapers, and the increase in the internet.

  2012 2000
Cable 36% 34%
Local TV news 32% 48%
Network news 26% 45%
Internet 25% 9%
Local newspaper 20% 40%

Since 2008, there has been a significant decline in the number of those 18- 29 years of age who follow the election campaigns on the internet. There have been increases in those 30+ who are following the candidates on the internet.

  2012 2008
18-29 29% 42%
30-49 33% 26%
50-64 21% 20%
64+ 11% 5%

Facebook and Twitter are not yet significant online sources of campaign- related information. 6% regularly turn to Facebook, while only 2% regularly turn to Twitter. Only 6% of Facebook/Twitter users say they have become a “friend” to a candidate on a social networking site. However, this is up from 3% in 2008.

The average Facebook user makes seven new Facebook friends each month. On average, Facebook users can reach more than 150,000 Facebook users through friends.

The top online sources used regularly by 20 % are websites and the apps of print, TV and radio organizations.

The top online sources for campaign news are CNN and Yahoo/Yahoo News.

CNN 24%
Yahoo/Yahoo News 22%
Google/Google News 13%
Fox/Fox News 10%
MSN 9%
Facebook 5%
New York Times 5%
AOL/AOL News 4%

Fox News is cited by far more Republicans than Democrats as the place they get most of the campaign news. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to prefer CNN and MSNBC.

67% (37% great deal/30% fair amount) say there is a great deal of political bias in news reporting. This includes 49% of Republicans and 32% of Democrats.

While we are only in the early stages of the 2012 presidential campaign, 72% of registered voters say they have seen or heard campaign commercials.

[PEW Research Center 2/12]

Return to Home Page