When it comes to who they want to win the presidential race, optimism about the economy and the direction of the United States, the opinions of social media users match those of the overall population, according to the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll.
The results track so closely because nearly two-thirds of Americans are social media users, according to the poll released Thursday. The poll also showed no great differences between users and non-users, when it comes to party identification, age and economic status.
Key differences emerge when comparing social media users to non-users. People who use social media are far more likely to sign a campaign petition (68 percent for social media users, compared to 50 percent of non-users) and to attend a campaign rally (32 percent of social media users compared to 22 percent of non-users).
People who use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on also are more likely to get the opinions of others before buying a product (79 percent to 60 percent) and more likely to be influenced by the opinions of others (64 percent to 47 percent). Social media users were more likely to agree that ordinary consumers have more influence over major corporations now, as opposed to 10 or 15 years ago, compared to the overall population.
One category where social media users veered from the overall population was, unsurprisingly, use of and trust in social media and overall time spent connected to the Internet. Thirty-eight percent of social media users said they place at least some or a great deal of trust in blogs and online forums, compared to 34 percent overall. However, a majority of social media users still viewed those forms of media as untrustworthy.
Most everyone polled viewed newspapers and public television and radio as the most trustworthy sources of news and information.
Facebook was the most used social media site among active users, with 66 percent saying they spent most of their social media time on the service. Google+ was the favorite site of 11 percent, with Twitter drawing 7 percent and LinkedIn 6 percent.