Cellphones tool of choice during mid-term elections

Posted by Kate Taylor

More than a quarter of cellphone users in the US used their mobiles to engage in political activity during November's mid-term elections.

While 14 percent were merely telling their friends that they'd voted, 12 percent used it to keep up with the news, says the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Ten percent sent texts to friends and family about the election.

Six percent briefed others about conditions at the local polling station, and three percent shared photos or videos. One percent used a cell-phone app that provided updates from a candidate or group about election news, and one percent contributed money to a party or interest group by text message.

As you'd expect, younger people were more likely to use their cellphone for political purposes, as were men, the well-off, the well-educated and African-Americans.

Rather weirdly, some 21 percent of those who used their cellphones to learn about or participate in politics didn't actually end up voting in the election.

There was little ideological partisanship amongst these political cellphone users. Around 44 percent voted Rebublican, and the same proportion Democrat, with a similar breakdown in political views as the general population. The one way in which the group differed from the population at large was in its views on the Tea Party movement, with politically active cellphone users less likely to endorse it.

"Those who used their cell phones for political purposes are a high-tech, high-activity group when it comes to using the internet," says the report.

"Ninety-two percent of them have broadband at home, versus 60 percent of all adults; 72 percent own laptops, versus 53 percent of all adults; 66 percent own iPods or other MP3 players, versus 43 percent of all adults; 55 percent own gaming consoles versus 38 percent of all adults; nine percent own e-book readers; and 10 percent own iPads or another tablet computer."