- Get political news online - 58% of online adults looked online for news about politics or the 2010 campaigns, and 32% of online adults got most of their 2010 campaign news from online sources.
- Go online to take part in specific political activities, such as watch political videos, share election-related content or "fact check" political claims - 53% of adult internet users did at least one of the eleven online political activities we measured in 2010.
- Use Twitter or social networking sites for political purposes - One in five online adults (22%) used Twitter or a social networking site for political purposes in 2010.1
Taken together, 73% of online adults took part in at least one of these activities in 2010. Although our definition of an online political user has changed significantly over time, the overall audience for political engagement and information-seeking has grown since the most recent midterm election cycle in 2006 -- using a different array of activities to measure online political activity, we found at that time that 31% of adults used the internet for campaign-related purposes.
As was true in 2008, a plurality of partisan online political users gravitate towards news that shares their own political point of view
In the 2008 presidential election, we found for the first time that online political users were more likely to say that they typically got online political news from sites that shared their point of view, as opposed to sites that don't have a particular point of view.3
This trend continued in 2010, as 34% of online political users said that most of the political news and information they get online comes from sites that share their point of view-compared with 30% who typically get news from sites that don't have a point of view, and 21% who get news from sites that differ from their own point of view. As we found in 2008, views on this subject are correlated with partisan identification -- both Republicans and Democrats were more likely than political independents to say that they typically get online political news from sources that share their political point of view.
The results reported here are based on a national telephone survey of 2,257 adults conducted November 3-24, 2010. The survey included 755 interviews conducted on the respondent's cell phone, and interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.
Read the full report at pewinternet.org.