Election 2015: Where do people get their news?

With the election almost upon us, the first in Newsworks' series of election trackers looks at where people get their news from.

Denise Turner: head of insight at Newsworks
Denise Turner: head of insight at Newsworks

With the general election campaign in full swing there has been a lot of discussion about where people get their news from and what the latest election stories are.

We know that there are many different influences on how people vote in a general election. These can range from local issues, to the national agenda, to personal preferences and family traditions.

One thing is true though, people need to be informed and whether they seek it out directly or not, they get news about the election from media. In this instance media ranges from newsbrands, TV, radio, to social media, as well as more direct forms of communication such as email and politicians knocking on doors. Some of that news is general; some is more detailed and specific. And it will of course vary by demographic.

With just over two weeks to go until we head down to our local polling stations, Newsworks has set up an election tracker, surveying 150 people every day, asking them about the sources informing them about the election and where they are getting both general and specific information. To date we have surveyed over 900 people, representative of the voting population.

It is no surprise that television - news programmes, the TV debates and so on - is a key source of news, though this tends to be at a more general level. On average people get their election news from four different sources.

However when we dig below the surface, and focus on first time voters aged between 18-24, they get their election news from a wider range of sources - 5.4 on average.

When it comes to more specific information, the sources used tend to vary more but people tend to use fewer, on average 2.3.

And it seems that young, first time voters are hungrier for information and consult a wider range - 3.5 on average. (Perhaps they are not as jaded as the rest of us!)

Trust is an important issue when it comes to sources of news about the election, of course, whether that is trust in the content directly and/or who shares it.

Newsbrands have an important role to play for our young, first-time voters who are more likely than adults to get election news from newsbrands in all their forms as they are from other media. They are also more likely than adults to get election news from social networking sites, whether that is content from national newspapers or indeed newsbrand content shared by their friends.

It will be interesting to see how this changes over the next two weeks as the election campaigns heat up and how the role of newsbrands evolves.

Denise Turner is by insight director at Newsworks 

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