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ASU Morrison Institute finds differences and opportunities in media consumption, social networks among registered voters

PHOENIX, April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission released a study today finding that registered voters in Arizona report significant differences in how they consume political-related information and how they interact on social media when it comes to political matters.

The study, titled "Voters, Media & Social Networks," is a part of an on-going commitment by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to equal, efficient and effective voter outreach. The sampling of 1,315 participants was a representation of self-reported Republican, Democrat and independent registered voters in Arizona. Post-election focus groups also were convened.

This new study builds on the Morrison Institute's 2015 Report "Who is Arizona's Independent Voter?"  It reinforces the 2015 work indicating that independents are more likely than partisan voters to seek out news and information from multiple sources and communicate across the political spectrum.  

Highlights from this study are outlined below:

  • Republican and Democrat voters prefer more traditional media outlets (48 percent television, 9 percent radio and 8 percent printed source), and are less likely to use the internet (at 35 percent) than independents.
  • The internet is the prime news source for younger voters (54 percent) and independents (46 percent).
  • Independents are at ease discussing news with Democratic and Republican voters, expanding the reach of news through social networks by sharing news partisans might not get otherwise.

"The findings of this study will help guide the Commission in its goal of providing education to voters throughout the four corners of Arizona," said Commission Chairman Steve M. Titla. "Additionally, these findings can be put to use by all voters as it sheds light on behavior among their peers."

Thom Reilly, director of Morrison Institute for Public Policy and an analyst of the report, said the report offers insight into possibly closing the gap on the partisan divide.

"Findings from the survey and focus groups suggest that while Republican and Democratic voters remain politically polarized and largely consume different news media via different social networks, independent voters can act as a bridge in sharing election and other news with members of both major parties. As a result, independents can have a moderating effect in sharing perspectives that otherwise might not be exchanged," Reilly said.

The report, which was featured April 20 on PBS-TV's NewsHour, is available for download at MorrisonInstitute.asu.edu  

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission is an independent state body made up of individuals who have sworn to faithfully administer the Clean Elections Act. Voters passed the Citizens Clean Elections Act in 1998 to promote participation in the political process and to ensure Arizona's politics are free from corruption. The act includes administration of voter education, clean funding programs, and campaign finance enforcement.

Members of the Commission are appointed alternatively by the governor and the highest-ranking official of the opposite party. Commissioners must not have served in, or run for, public office for five years, nor have been an officer of a political party. No more than two members of the commission may be from any one party or county. Currently, the Commission is made up of two Republicans, two Democrats and one independent.

To learn more about the role of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, visit azcleanelections.gov.

Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona's premier think tank, was established in 1982. An Arizona State University resource, Morrison Institute utilizes nonpartisan research, analysis, polling and public dialogue to examine critical state and regional issues. Morrison Institute provides data- and evidence-based review to help improve the state and region's quality of life. Morrison Institute is part of the ASU College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

To learn more about Morrison Institute, go to MorrisonInstitute.asu.edu

 

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