THE BLOG

Social Media's Impact on the Presidential Election

01/18/2013 03:49 pm ET | Updated Mar 20, 2013
  • David K. Rehr Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

Landmark research, released by ORI, a market research and strategic business intelligence firm, and The George Washington Graduate School of Political Management, offers key insights for politics, business and non-profits in their study, "The 2012 Social Media Election Survey: Key Lessons to Inform Decision-Making in Politics & Business." The survey was conducted between October 29 - November 13. 806 individuals participated in the survey nationwide, providing a margin of error of +/- 3.45 percent.

The objectives of the research was to understand:

• How closely the public was watching the election;
• The value placed on various sources of information about the candidates and the issues in
the election;
• How the public was using social media to learn about and engage in discussions about the
election;
• How people shared their political opinions on social media;
• Demographic differences in perception and behavior.

You can see the entire research deck by going to:
http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/16043667

Here are just some of the top line results:

• Overall, 29 percent said social media was moderately to extremely influential in their opinions of the candidates and issues.

• Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said the quality of information about the candidates and issues on
social media was the same or better than that from traditional media.

• Approximately 40 percent participated in a political discussion with others in their social
networks and 28 percent said they displayed their political affiliation on their networks.

• Overall political engagement and participated showed: 25 percent donated money to a candidate or political party; 23 percent connected through social media; 13 percent subscribed to online news.

• Of those engaged or involved, 77 percent made political contributions online and/or through a
website. 19 percent made a contribution through Facebook.

• 47 percent learned about policy issues from cable TV; 42 percent from broadcast news channels; 36%
from public television, including C-SPAN and PBS.

• 72 percent do not display their party affiliation on social media;

• 19 percent defriend, block or hide a connection because of their political views -- with liberals
less tolerant of other views than conservatives.

This insights contained in this research again demonstrates how social media is changing how we obtain and connect with information and interact as citizens.