UCLA Students Got Election News from Social Media

    by Anthony Pesce
    November 5, 2008

    An exit poll conducted Nov. 4 by the Daily Bruin suggests, unsurprisingly, that UCLA students received a substantial amount of information about the election from the Internet and social media sites. Eight hundred sixteen students were polled at five locations on and around campus, and we ended up with a margin of error of 3%. This was one of the questions and our results:

    Please circle the following places where you received a significant amount of information regarding the current election? Please circle all that apply.

    Television Debates ———————————- 71%
    Television News ————————————— 66%
    Word of Mouth —————————————— 56%
    Other On-line Websites/Blogs ————— 41%
    From Parents/Family ——————————- 40%
    Other Sources ——————————————— 32%
    Youtube.com ———————————————- 25%
    Daily Bruin Newspaper ————————— 25%
    Other Newspaper ————————————— 25%
    Los Angeles Times Newspaper ————- 23%
    Mail/Advertisements Through Mail —— 10%
    Church/Religious Organizations ————- 9%
    No Answer —————————————————- 2%


    As you can see, an equal number of students reported getting a significant amount of information from YouTube as from newspapers. Surprisingly for me, more students reported receiving a significant amount of information from the Bruin than the Los Angeles Times. Another interesting figure is the 41% that said they received information from websites or blogs.

    I think the Internet figure coupled with the YouTube figure could say that UCLA students likely received a staggering amount of information about this campaign from internet and social media sources. Though I don’t have statistics to back this up, I would say that these figures are likely much higher for people my age than the over-30 demographic. But I think what’s also interesting is that television news and debates remained the two dominant sources of information, followed by word of mouth.

    I think these numbers can say quite a bit, and we have mounds of data to go over in the next week or so, but I think these preliminary results are interesting. One conclusion I would be interested in exploring, perhaps in a different survey, would be whether or not the 30% of students who didn’t get a substantial amount of information about the campaign from television opted for social media, blogs, or even newspaper coverage. Any ideas from those of you on here with PhDs?


    Soon we’ll make all of our data open to the public so everyone can have a chance to look at everything we asked. If you go here you can see a sample survey and more detailed data tables. But in the meantime I thought the readership of this blog would be interested in taking a look at this.

    Follow me on my blog and on Twitter @anthonyjpesce

    Tagged: election 2008 social media ucla bruin youth vote

    One response to “UCLA Students Got Election News from Social Media”

    1. Ellen Hume says:

      I would find this far more interesting if you had asked: “What news source for this election was indispensible to you? If you had to rely on only one source, what would it be?”
      I could see filling out your poll with multiples, saying yes, I got a significant amount of information from newspapers, YouTube, blogs, a lot of other places. By not asking us to prioritize our own choices, you gave us too broad a survey, in my opinion.

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