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New Poll Reveals How Media Consumption Divides Americans Politically

Donald Trump and Joe Biden both look to the side with one hand raised while speaking.
Source: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia, Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

A new poll from NBC has identified how political attitudes play out based on a person’s media consumption. The poll found a sharp difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden supporters when it comes to how they get their news.

From poll results, it seems those who use traditional news sources like newspapers and national network news tend to prefer Biden, while people who don’t follow political news or get their news from places like YouTube and social media tend to prefer Donald Trump.

The poll found that 53% of people who don’t follow political news prefer Donald Trump while only 27% of that group prefers Joe Biden. Trump also beats Biden on YouTube watchers 55% to 32%. 

When it comes to social media consumption the numbers are a little closer but Trump still wins out with 46% of this group compared to 42% which went to Joe Biden in the poll.

However, Biden overwhelmingly beats Trump when it comes to newspaper readers. 70% of those who get their news from newspapers prefer Biden compared to only 21% of this group who said Trump. 

Consumers of national network news preferred Biden 55% to 35%, and 49% of news watchers who get their information from digital websites chose Biden compared to the 39% of this group who chose Trump. Interestingly, when looking at cable news, Trump won out over Biden 53% to 45%.

This poll was conducted by Republican pollster Bill McInturff and Democrat pollster Jeff Horwitt and surveyed 1,000 registered voters across the nation with a 3.1 plus or minus margin of error.

McInturff described the divide among media consumers as “almost comic.”

“It’s almost comic. If you’re one of the remaining Americans who say you read a newspaper to get news, you are voting for Biden by 49 points,” said McInturff.

Horwitt was keen to investigate the solid lead that Trump has built among voters not following political news since Trump has been constantly in the news for his civil and criminal trials.

“These are voters who have tuned out information, by and large, and they know who they are supporting, and they aren’t moving,” Horwitt said.  “That’s why it’s hard to move this race based on actual news. They aren’t seeing it, and they don’t care.”

The poll also examined voter feelings on third-party candidates including JFK Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornel West. Similar to Trump supporters, this poll found that supporters of these candidates also tended to prefer not to follow political news or would get their information from non-traditional news sources.

The results from the NBC poll are interesting when compared to a Podcastle poll from early March which found 28% of Americans are consuming less political news during the 2024 election cycle.

This could mean that traditional news consumers, a typically reliable voting bloc for candidates, are starting to be outnumbered by those tuning things out.

Joe Towner, the Podcastle content lead, talked about podcast listening habits that were found in the Podcastle study, another area where right-leaning consumers dominate.

“Nearly 60% of right-leaning respondents are tuning into audio news this election season, compared to 47% with centrist ideologies and 45% of left-leaning listeners,” said Towner.

It’s unclear how this shift and polarization in voters based on news content will translate into results at the polls in November. However, these recent polling figures taken together could spell trouble for campaign strategies that hope to leverage news headlines to sway voters.


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