US consumers with broadband used the internet rather than newspapers during the last presidential elections as their primary news source, a survey has revealed.
"The last election was a breakout event for the internet," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and one of the authors of the report.
Just under 40 per cent of those with broadband at home cited the internet as their major source of political news, compared to 36 per cent who obtained their news mainly from newspapers.
"Every aspect of online politics grew quantitatively and many were wholly new, from the flood of online campaign contributions to the rise of political bloggers," explained Rainie.
Compared with a similar study carried out after the 2000 US presidential elections, online access to political news grew from 18 per cent to 29 per cent in 2004.
Over a third of the 2,200 respondents used the internet to research candidates, pick up political news, make online contributions and converse about political issues. Over half said that information helped them decide which way to vote.
Of those surveyed 53 per cent voted for Bush and 47 per cent for Kerry. But Kerry supporters were more likely to make online contributions, trade email jokes, check for endorsements from interest group websites, and register opinions in online surveys.
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