A few weeks ago, the Pew Center Internet & American Life Project released the results of a new survey that examined the online political activities of the US population. The study looked at those who had participated in some political activity (either online or offline) in the last 12 months.
You can download the whole report, but here are some topline data points I thought would provide some insight to you and your current and future online campaigning activities:
- 69% of the population are active Internet users and of those, 39% participate in political or civic activites on social networking sites (up from 12% in 2008);
- 43% of social networking site users have decided to learn more about an issue/candidate because of something they read on a social network site;
- While “liking” something is the top political activity online (38%), it is closely followed by posting their own political thoughts (34%);
- Those commenting or engaging on political issues online tend to be university educated with higher incomes;
- However, the differences in income level and participation are far less pronounced online than they are offline;
- Unsurprisingly, younger users tend to be more politically active and engaged online.
Again, you can download and read the full report here. While limited to the US, there is no reason to believe the same general trends do not hold true in Canada as well.
The Pew survey again confirms that online political activity is only going to increase over time. It also demonstrates that those who are politically active aren’t just passive observers; they engage your campaign, debate issues and circulate your content.