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The Zogby Poll®: A majority of likely voters use social media daily; Voters say the mainstream media influences their political views more than social media; Women are less likely to be influenced by media than men

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According to a new Zogby Analytics poll of 1,340 likely voters nationwide., a majority (56%) of respondents say they use social media, like Facebook or Twitter, every day while more than a quarter (27%) use social media at least a few times a week. Only a very small percentage of surveyed voters use social media minimally-every now and then (5%), rarely (3%), and never (9%).

Likely voters living in large cities (62%) were more likely than suburban voters (53%) to use social media, i.e. Facebook and Twitter, every day. At the same time, rural voters (61%) were more likely to utilize social media every day than medium (54%) and small city voters (53%).

Consumer sectors, such as, weekly Walmart shoppers (68%) and weekly Amazon shoppers (70%) were most likely, among the sub-groups surveyed, to use social media every day. Creative sector voters (i.e. STEM, business, and service sector employees) were also fond of using social media like Facebook and Twitter every day (65%).

There was a generational gap between Generation X, Millennial, and Generation Z voters when it came to the frequency of use of social media. Millennials (1980-1985, 60% use social media every day) and Generation X voters (1965-1979, 65% use social media every day) used social media more than Generation Z voters (born 1996-2010, 44% use social media every day). When it came to political affiliation, Democrats (58% use them every day) and Republicans (62%) used social media platforms, such as, Facebook and Twitter, more frequently than Independents (47%).

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Overall, most voters (54%) say their political opinions are not (rarely-24% and never-30% combined) influenced by postings on social media. Less than one in five (17%) likely voters stated that their opinions are always politically influenced by social media postings, while 29% are sometimes influenced.

Men (24% always influenced, 47% rarely or never influenced) were significantly more likely than women (11% always influenced, 62% rarely or never influenced) to have their political opinions influenced by social media postings. Age was also a factor in how social media politically influences voters: for example; a quarter (26%) of younger voters aged 18-29 said they were always influenced by social media, compared to only 3% of older voters aged 65+ who were similarly affected..

Income, too, made a difference regarding social media sway over voters' political opinions. Interestingly, higher net worth voters (annual household incomes of $150K+, 31% are always influenced) were three times as likely to report having their political opinions always influenced by social media postings compared to only 10% of voters in households that earned less than $25K annually.

The political influence of social media postings dwindled as the size of the living space decreased. For instance, voters in large cities (35% always influenced) were influenced by social media postings more frequently than voters in medium sized (15%) and small cities (13%), while the least politically influenced were suburban (9%) and rural voters (12%). Conversely, suburban voters (62%--rarely and never combined) and rural voters (68% rarely and never combined) were more likely to not be influenced by postings compared to voters who live in large cities (31%--rarely and never combined).

Finally, gender and the kind of place where voters live combined produced even greater effects: suburban women (6% always influenced) were five times less likely to always have their political opinions influenced by social media postings than urban men (30%). At the same time, suburban women (6% always) were less likely to have their political opinions influenced by social media postings than rural women (10% always influenced) and urban women (15% always influenced).

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While the same percentage of voters say their political opinions are "always" influenced by the mainstream media (17% always influenced) and social media (17% always influenced), more voters report being sometimes influenced by the main stream media (42%) compared to social media (29%). Nearly a quarter (23%) of surveyed voters responded that their political opinions are rarely influenced by the mainstream media and 18% said they never are.

Political influence of social media and the political influence of the mainstream media for specific demographics such as gender, age, party, income and where voters live was broadly similar. In addition, likely voters from the South (23% always influenced) were almost twice as likely to be influenced by the mainstream media, i.e. large newspapers, cable news and network news, than voters living in the Central Great Lakes region (12% always influenced). Contrary to some stereotypes, Baby Boomers were less likely to be (24% never influenced) influenced by the main stream media, than Millennials (11% never influenced) and Generation Z voters (15% never influenced)

The Takeaways

Voters use social media (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) a lot. No matter the age, gender, region, income, education etc., majorities of voters of all stripes use it nearly every day.

However, despite heavy use of social media, voters report that their political opinions are less likely to be influenced by social media postings than they are by the mainstream media (i.e. large newspapers, cable news and network news).

Men are much more likely than women to report having their political opinions influenced by both social media and the mainstream media. At the same time, suburban women were much less likely than rural and urban women to have their political opinions impacted by both social and mainstream media.

With no women candidates left in the Democratic primary, and women voters less likely to be politically influenced by media, it could prove difficult for both Democrats and Republicans to reach women in 2020.

Both parties will be vying for women voters, especially suburban women, come November 2020. Will either nominee consider putting a strong women candidate on the ticket? Could Elizabeth Warren be the answer for the Democrats or is Nikki Hailey the ace up Trump's sleeve for re-election? Between a tanking stock market and a brewing pandemic, anything is possible!

 

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Zogby Analytics Poll Methodology
US Likely Voters
2/13/20 – 2/14/20

Zogby Analytics conducted an online survey of 1340 likely voters in the US.

Using internal and trusted interactive partner resources, thousands of adults were randomly invited to participate in this interactive survey. Each invitation is password coded and secure so that one respondent can only access the survey one time.

Using information based on census data, voter registration figures, CIA fact books and exit polls, we use complex weighting techniques to best represent the demographics of the population being surveyed. Weighted variables may include age, race, gender, region, party, education, and religion. The party breakdown for this survey is as follows: 36% Democrat, 36% Republican and 28% Independent/unaffiliated.

Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for 1340 is +/- 3.7 percentage points. This means that all other things being equal, the identical survey repeated will have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

Subsets of the data have a larger margin of error than the whole data set. As a rule we do not rely on the validity of very small subsets of the data especially sets smaller than 50-75 respondents. At that subset we can make estimations based on the data, but in these cases the data is more qualitative than quantitative.

Additional factors can create error, such as question wording and question order.

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About Zogby Analytics:
Zogby Analytics is respected nationally and internationally for its opinion research capabilities. Since 1984, Zogby has empowered clients with powerful information and knowledge critical for making informed strategic decisions.

The firm conducts multi-phased opinion research engagements for banking and financial services institutions, insurance companies, hospitals and medical centers, retailers and developers, religious institutions, cultural organizations, colleges and universities, IT companies and Federal agencies. Zogby's dedication and commitment to excellence and accuracy are reflected in its state-of-the-art opinion research capabilities and objective analysis and consultation.

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