During campaign 2008, more than half the voting-age population used the internet to participate in the political process – as a primary source of information, to communicate political views, to share information, to contribute to a campaign, or in a myriad of other ways.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project has published a voluminous 92-page report on The Internet’s Role in Campaign 2008, which indicates that “a majority of American adults went online in 2008 to keep informed about political developments and to get involved with the election.”
In 1996 just 4 percent of the adult population went online for news or information about politics. In 2008, 44 percent did so. In fact, “among the entire population, the internet is now on par with newspapers as a major source of campaign news – 26% of all adults get most of their election news from the internet, compared with the 28% who get their election news from newspapers.” Moreover, “fully 35% of those who use the internet get most of their election news online (compared with 25% who point to newspapers), while 34% of both 18-29 year olds and 30-49 year olds rely on the internet, compared with the 20% of those in each age group who rely on newspapers as a major source of campaign news.”
This Pew Internet special report contains a host of revealing points of utility and interest to anyone wishing to understand developments in contemporary American politics.