Many more Americans are turning to the internet for campaign news this year as the web becomes a key source of election news. Television remains the dominant source, but the percent who say they get most of their campaign news from the internet has tripled since October 2004 (from 10% then to 33% now).
While use of the web has seen considerable growth, the percentage of Americans relying on TV and newspapers for campaign news has remained relatively flat since 2004. The internet now rivals newspapers as a main source for campaign news. And with so much interest in the election next week, the public's use of the internet as a campaign news source is up even since the primaries earlier this year. In March, 26% cited the internet as a main source for election news, while the percentages citing television and newspapers remain largely unchanged.
Not surprisingly, the internet is a considerably more popular source for campaign news among younger Americans than among older ones. Nearly three times as many people ages 18 to 29 mention the internet as mention newspapers as a main source of election news (49% vs. 17%). Nearly the opposite is true among those over age 50: some 22% rely on the internet for election news while 39% look to newspapers. Compared with 2004, use of the internet for election news has increased across all age groups. Among the youngest cohort (age 18-29), TV has lost significant ground to the internet.
On television, the cable news outlets clearly dominate the big three networks as main sources of campaign news. Nearly half of the public (46%) turns to the cable news channels, with 25% naming CNN as a main source of campaign news, 21% naming Fox News Channel and 10% naming MSNBC. Only 24% rely on the network news outlets ABC, CBS and NBC. Another 13% look to local TV news. This reflects broader changes in news consumption patterns. In recent years, cable news outlets have overtaken the networks as the general news sources that the public watches most regularly.