Americans are more critical than residents of any other country surveyed by the Pew Research Center this year about the impact that social media has on democracy. Adults generally agree that social media has been more of a bad thing than a good thing for democracy in the United States. However, there are significant partisan and ideological differences in the strength of this point of view and others related to social media and politics. This article will explore these differences and their implications for public opinion in Central Colorado.
The survey asked questions about how people feel about the influence of social media on democracy and politics. The results showed that Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents were more likely to view social media as having a negative impact on American democracy than Democrats and supporters of Democrats. Republicans were also less likely to believe that social networks are an effective way to raise public awareness about political or social issues, or that they can make elected officials pay attention to problems. They were also less likely to think that access to the Internet and social networks has made people more informed about national events.
On the other hand, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say that social networks have caused a greater division in political opinions, and that it is easy to manipulate people with false information and rumors due to social media. Within each party, there were significant ideological differences in Americans' opinions on these issues. Those at the extreme ends of the ideological spectrum—conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats—were more likely than their party's moderates to say that social media is politically divisive and that it has made people less civilized in the way they talk about politics. Despite their concern about the impact of social media, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are the most likely to spread political or social messages on their own.
Recent data released on Saturday mornings showed that while only 23% of Americans who use social media post about political or social issues, the majority of those users (55%) identify themselves as conservative Republicans or liberal Democrats. The implications of these findings for public opinion in Central Colorado are clear: Social media has had a significant impact on how people view politics and democracy. It has caused a greater division between political parties, making it easier for false information and rumors to spread. It has also made people less civil in their discourse about politics.
As such, it is important for citizens in Central Colorado to be aware of these trends and take steps to ensure that they are not being manipulated by false information or rumors. The Pew Research Center is a non-partisan data bank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends that shape the world. It conducts public opinion surveys, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical research in the social sciences. The Pew Research Center does not take political positions.
It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.