Sizing Up the YouTube Vote
Less than a year after Senator George Allen was arguably unseated by a grainy online video, campaigns, activist groups and amateur pundits are flooding Web sites from YouTube to Facebook with political content in the run up to the 2008 presidential election.
This new world of viral video and social networking has captured the attention of many, especially young voters, but the overall impact is limited - so far.
One in five adults in a recent Post-Kaiser-Harvard poll say they get "a lot" of information about politics and government online. That's fewer than say the same of television news or print newspapers (53 percent and 31 percent, respectively), but about the same as radio.
Once online, people remain more apt to get information from "old media." Eighteen percent get a lot of information from newspaper or television network Web sites, while just 3 percent get a lot of political news from blogs and 2 percent each from social networking or video sharing sites such as YouTube, which is co-sponsoring a debate Monday with CNN.
Younger voters are among the most likely to get their political fix from the Web and to seek out new media outlets. More than four in 10 cite the Internet as a top source for political news, and young voters are more than four times as likely as those over 30 to use video sharing and social networking sites: 20 percent get at least some political news and information from YouTube and 17 percent from social networking sites. Six percent say they get "a lot" of political information from these sites.
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