While the political junkie often exists in a news bubble so dense it creates cognitive dissonance upon discovering the citizens of the outside world have not been following this item that, to the junkie, seemed so momentous, so big, how could anyone not have heard about it, elections coverage turns out to be an exception to this sort of myopia.
A new Pew Research Center report shows that 2016 coverage is so inescapable that 91 percent of survey participants had been exposed to elections-related information in the past week.
And this isn’t an “oh yeah, my politically rabid uncle would not stop talking about his candidate at dinner last Sunday” kind of information exposure scenario. It’s full frontal: 45 percent of survey participants had heard about the elections from five or more sources–obsessed relatives excluded.
In breaking down the sources, Pew provides us with another chance to bemoan/gawk at the sad, inevitable fate of the print newspaper industry. Fewer participants had learned about the elections from print versions of newspapers than from any other source. Radio beat print, 44 percent to 36 percent. Within print, local dailies reached more people than did national, 29 to 23 percent.
There were some partisan differences in sourcing as well, particularly in television. At 62 percent, cable TV news was the largest source of information for Republicans, compared to 54 percent of Democrats, for whom local TV news was tops, reaching 61 percent. Far more Democrats–as well as 18-29 year olds, natch–cited late night comedy as a source than did Republicans. Those figures, respectively, were 30 percent, 34 percent and 16 percent.
For all the charts, click here.