Poll: Voters say cable TV most helpful for '16 news

Poll: Voters say cable TV most helpful for '16 news
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Cable news is seen as the most helpful source for 2016 election news overall, with social media more dominant among those under the age of 30, according to a new survey.

Pew Research study released Thursday found that nine in 10 people in the United States are consuming presidential election news with the primary season underway.

Respondents are turning to a number of sources, with 24 percent saying cable TV is most helpful. Fourteen percent say social media is most helpful, 14 percent name local TV, 13 percent name news websites and 11 percent name radio.


Only about 1-to-3 percent of people find other to be helpful, including late night television, print newspapers or candidate websites.

Cable TV is seen as most helpful for people over the age of 29. There is a sharp spike for people over the age of 65, with 43 percent saying cable TV is most helpful.

For people between the ages of 18 and 29, social media has become the most helpful source of election news, with 35 percent. News websites rank second for young people with 18 percent, followed by cable news at 12 percent.

On social media, Facebook is the most popular, followed by YouTube, Twitter, Google and Reddit.  

“As a platform, television and the Web — and even radio to a lesser degree — strongly appeal to certain parts of the public, while print sits squarely at the bottom. As many people name late night comedy shows as most helpful as do a print newspaper,” Pew wrote in its analysis.  

Likely primary and caucus voters are more likely to consume news from multiple platforms. They are also slightly more likely to pick cable news and radio as the most helpful.

Thirty-four percent of Republicans say cable news is most helpful, compared to 19 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents. Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans — 18 percent to 12 percent — to find local TV news most helpful. 

The survey was conducted from Jan. 18–27 and polled 3,760 respondents. The full sample’s margin of error is 2.3 percent.