Pew Internet Research is the most serious student of US online habits related to politics and issue advocacy. Pew has released new survey data on Internet usage by American onliners during the 2010 election campaigns, which might be of interest to NZ partisans as our election season heats up.

Overall, fully 73% of adult internet users (representing 54% of all US adults) went online to get news or information about the 2010 midterm elections, or to get involved in the campaign in one way or another.

Here is some detail. Among American online adults:

  • 16% sent email related to the campaign or the elections to friends, family members or others;
  • 12% revealed online which candidates they voted for in the November elections;
  • 7% used the internet to organize or get information about in-person meetings to discuss political issues in the campaign;
  • 22% used Twitter or a social networking site for political purposes;
  • 6% took part in an online discussion, listserv or other online group forum such as a blog, related to political issues or the campaign;
  • 5% used the internet to participate in volunteer activities related to the campaign—such getting lists of voters to call or getting people to the polls;
  • One-third (35%) went online to look for information about candidates’ voting records or positions on issues;
  • 8% of online adults signed up online to have updates about the campaign or the election delivered to them directly;
  • 31% viewed campaign-related videos online (jumped from 19% in 2006 Congressional elections);
  • fully 20% went online to follow an interesting election campaign in another part of the country; and,
  • 5% of Republican voters and 6% of Democratic voters donated money online in 2010.

The study includes plenty of demographic and political affiliation breakdowns of the stats. On a trend line basis, virtually all of these numbers are up over the 2008 election, even though that election was a — presumably — higher interest Presidential year.

Would be nice to know how those figures will compare to NZ voters this year. Will you be doing any online politicking?

Tom Belford

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