This survey was conducted during the November 2010 mid-term elections. We asked people if they had “gone to any political meetings, rallies, speeches, or fundraisers in support of a particular candidate,” if they “tried to convince someone to vote for a political party or candidate,” and if they had or planned to vote in the November election.
- 10% of Americans reported that they had attended a political rally.
- 23% reported that they tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate.
- 66% reported that they intended to or had voted in the election (note: this is much higher than the 41% of American who were eligible to vote who actually did vote. This is a common post-election poll finding. ).
Facebook users are more politically engaged.
There is considerable variation in the likelihood that a person attended a rally, tried to persuade someone to vote, or intended to vote depending on their use of different SNS platforms.
Users of LinkedIn are much more likely to be politically engaged than users of other SNS. 14% of LinkedIn users attended a political rally, 36% tried to persuade someone to vote, and 79% reported that they did or intended to vote.
MySpace users are the least politically active. Only 9% attended a political rally, 18% attempted to influence someone’s vote, and 57% voted or intended to vote.
However, education and gender are highly predictive of the likelihood of a person being politically engaged. Older and more educated Americans are more likely to be politically involved. Since LinkedIn users tend to be older and more educated, and MySpace users tend to be younger and less educated, this explains most of the difference we observed between SNS platforms.
Yet, even when we control for demographic characteristics we found that internet users and Facebook users in particular, were more likely to be politically involved than similar Americans (see Appendix C, Table C9, for the results of our regression analysis).
- Controlling for demographic characteristics, internet users are nearly two and a half times more likely to have attended a political rally (2.39x), 78% more likely to have attempted to influence someone’s vote, and 53% more likely to have reported voting or intending to vote than non-internet users.
- Controlling for demographics and other types of internet use, compared with other internet users a Facebook user who visits the site multiple times per day is two and a half times more likely to have attended a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to have tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 43% more likely to have said they voted or intended to vote (compared with non-internet users: 5.89 times more likely to have attended a meeting, 2.79 times more likely to talk to someone about their vote, and 2.19 times more likely to report voting).