Pew's other poll

Plenty has been made this week of the latest Pew numbers on the presidential race, but here’s another stat from Pew that’s worth some attention: more than a quarter of registered voters who own cellphones have used their devices to get information on the 2012 election.   

The overall number of people accessing election information via mobile may not have changed all that much since the 2010 election cycle, but their approach is far more social, according to numbers released Tuesday from Pew.

The survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows 88 percent of registered voters own a cell phone, and 27 percent of them use it to follow election or political news coverage. About half of those registered voters with cell phones say it’s a smartphone—45 percent of them using theirs to consume politics on social networking sites and 18 percent to post about politics on their own social networking channels.

The Pew survey also had some stats on campaign-related texting. The survey found that three quarters of registered voters who own cellphones use them to send or receive text messages. Among that group: 

19% have sent text messages related to the campaign to friends, family members, or others 5% have signed up to receive text messages directly from a candidate or other group involved in the campaign 5% say that they have received unwanted election-related text messages that they did not sign up to receive

Pew found that smartphones are also proving a valuable political fact-checking tool, with 35 percent of voters telling Pew they use theirs to validate claims made on the campaign trail. While liberals are slightly more likely than conservatives to own a smartphone or to text, Pew found cellphone ownership “is consistent across the ideological spectrum.”

Between July 11, 2011, and September 11, 2012, Pew saw smartphone ownership increase from 35 percent to 45 percent of the adult population.

The biggest winner of this cycle, however, may just be mobile political apps. In 2010, Pew found only 1 percent of adults used a candidate’s or organization’s app to obtain election news.

“At the moment, cell phone apps are playing a relatively minor role in connecting voters to candidates, parties, or interest groups,” reads Pew’s new report. “Some 45% of cell-owning registered voters use cell phone apps, but just 8% of these apps users have used apps from a candidate, political party, or interest group to get information or updates about the campaign during this election season.”

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