Pew Internet Survey: Phones & Politics – What Does the Data Really Mean?

I don’t think many people are surprised that the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 26% of American adults used a mobile phone to learn or participate in the 2010 mid-term election.

Politics goes mobile

It is a bit hard to decide if 1 out of every 4 adults is a big number or small one though. Another way to look at it, after all, is that 3 out of 4 adults (the vast majority) did not use their cell phones for communicating political information during the election period. On the other hand, voter turnout is generally low during mid-term elections. So, for example, if only half of voting age adults voted, then 26% means that half of the people who voted used mobile phones for texting or web political purposes. The survey, however, does not appear to take into consideration the activity of actual voters.

Pew’s survey results are interesting and defintely worth considering has we head into the the 2012 U.S. presidential election cycle, however.

The top three political mobile activities according to Pew were:

1. 14% of adults used their phone to tell others they had voted
2. 12% used their cell phones to keep up with news about the election or politics
3. 10% sent text messages related to the election