Report: Politics Going Mobile

By Cindy Waxer December 23, 2010

Americans aren’t just using their cell phones to make weekend plans and order take-out. According to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 26 percent of adult Americans used their cell phones to encourage others to vote in November's mid-term elections or to report back on conditions at their local voting sites, among other political activities.

The study also reveals that 14 percent of American adults used their cell phones to tell others that they had voted; 12 percent used their cell phones to keep up with news about the election or politics; 10 percent sent text messages relating to the election to friends and family members; and 4 percent of adults used their phones to monitor results of the election as they occurred.

Cell phones even played a fund-raising role as 1 percent of respondents said they contributed money by text message to a candidate or group connected to the election like a party or interest group.

Forget about finding a partisan angle to cell phone users’ habits. Some 71 percent of cell owners say they voted in the 2010 election, compared with 64 percent of the full adult population in this survey who say they voted. But as for the segment’s political makeup, they split their votes equally between Democratic and Republican congressional candidates – 44 percent to each. About 2 percent said they voted for other candidates and 10 percent didn’t answer the question or said they didn’t know. Generally, there were few partisan or ideological differences in way this group used their cell phones for politics.

As for age, in most cases, those ages 18-29 were more likely than those in older cohorts to use their cell phones for getting and sharing political information. What’s more, men and women were about as likely to use their phones to send political messages.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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