Political Election Issues and Social Media: 1 in 5 Discuss

Here at OSM we’ve noticed the growing use and impact of social media, especially so over the last year. We looked at how the youth of today engage more in politics through social media, and recently told of the launch of President Obama’s 2012 Campaign and how social media will be prominently used throughout the campaign. Now we have heard of a poll in Canada that showed 1 in 5 voters now discuss political election issues using social media.

The new Ipsos Reis poll showed that a fifth of voters used social media on a weekly basis to discuss politics, according to Greg Markey of The Vancouver Sun. Traditional news websites as well as sites such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs are used by 21% of Canadians eligible to vote, to debate political policies and issues. However, only 1 in 17 of those do so on a daily basis.

One rather odd anomaly is that although younger people are bigger users of social media, political issues are more likely to be discussed on social media sites by middle-aged and older people. Only 4% of younger voters (18-34) discuss politics daily on social media sites, but the figure was 6% for older users and 9% for voters who were middle-aged. This shows that although we have previously noted younger people engaging more in politics because of social media, politics is still not as popular a subject as maybe it should be.

President of Ipsos Reid public affairs in Canada, Mike Colledge, said, “All the other numbers we’ve seen about who’s using social media, it does skew younger. But its about the subject here, so its less about the medium than it is about the subject.” What are your thoughts on social media and politics? Do you engage more in politics because of social media? Let us know with your comments.