June 20, 2021

New Report: “How Media Habits Relate to Voter Participation”

From The Knight Foundation:

This new report was commissioned to explore the relationship between the self-reported media habits of these non-voters and their attitudes toward voting, the 2020 election and other forms of civic engagement. Findings are drawn from the nationally representative samples of 4,002 persistent non-voters ages 25 and older and 1,002 active registered voters from the original 100 Million Project survey.

This study reveals new insights into the media habits of American non-voters, and uncovers how their information diets might impact their democratic participation. This new analysis is instructive for those seeking to foster a more informed and engaged citizenry.

Key Findings Include:

  • Non-voters who are attentive to the news—the 33% who identify news rather than entertainment as the primary media they consume—are more likely to say they’ll vote in the 2020 presidential election.
  • Non-voters who turn to partisan-leaning news outlets, particularly conservative ones, are more likely than those who rely on centrist media outlets to say they’ll cast a ballot in November.
  • Social media and word of mouth via friends and family—two sources of news for many non-voters— are consistently tied to lower likelihood of voting in the future, more skeptical views about the efficacy of voting and lower community engagement overall.
  • Fewer than half (46%) of younger non-voters—ages 25–29—say they actively seek out news, with a majority saying that instead they typically “bump into” news as they go about their day. In contrast, voters in the same age group are nearly 20 percentage points more likely to say they seek out their news, placing them close to on par with voters of other age groups.
  • Non-voters and voters are both more likely to feel more knowledgeable about national affairs than about what’s happening in their local communities. The “nationally knowledgeable” members of both groups are more likely to say they’ll vote in the fall, while being less likely, by some measures, to be civically engaged in their local communities.

Direct to Full Text Report
30 pages; PDF.

Direct to 100 Million Project Report (February 2020)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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