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Cable TV top source for US political news: study

09 february 2012, 10:33
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Republican presidential candidates Santorum, Romney, Gingrich and Paul participate in a candidates debate in Charleston. ©REUTERS/Jason Reed
Republican presidential candidates Santorum, Romney, Gingrich and Paul participate in a candidates debate in Charleston. ©REUTERS/Jason Reed
Cable television is the leading source of US political news for Americans, according to a study released Tuesday, but fewer people are closely following the presidential campaign than four years ago, AFP reports.

The study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press also found that relatively few Americans are getting their political news and information from Facebook and Twitter.

Twenty percent of the 1,507 adults surveyed January 4-8 said they get their campaign news "regularly" or "sometimes" from Facebook. Just five percent said the same of Twitter.

Thirty-six percent said they regularly learn about the 2012 candidates or campaigns from cable television news networks, down from 38 percent in 2008.

There were broad declines, meanwhile, in the numbers of Americans getting campaign news from newspapers and local and network TV news, Pew said.

Thirty-two percent said local TV was their regular source for news about the presidential campaign, down from 40 percent in 2008, while 26 percent cited the nightly network news, down from 40 percent four years ago.

Twenty-five percent said they regularly learn about the election from the Internet, up from 24 percent four years ago.

Twenty percent cited local daily newspapers as a regular source for campaign news, down from 31 percent in 2008.

While cable TV may be the top source for campaign news, Republicans and Democrats are not necessarily watching the same networks.

"When asked where they get most of their campaign news, far more Republicans than Democrats cite Fox News, while Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to cite CNN and MSNBC," Pew said.

Fewer Americans are closely following the presidential campaign this year with only the Republican Party choosing a candidate for the White House.

Thirty percent of Democrats said they have been following election news very closely, down from 42 percent four years ago, when Barack Obama was battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Thirty-six percent of Republicans said they were following the campaign very closely, up from 33 percent in 2008.

The survey had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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