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Tech / Elections

Survey: Campaign Contributors Stick to Traditional Tools

On the first day that the popular iPhone was available at Verizon Wireless stores, an iPhone is displayed in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an iPhone on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

October 25, 2012

Despite a range of new social media and technology, most contributors to this year's presidential campaigns continue to make donations in more traditional ways, according to a new survey released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Pew surveyed 2,010 people, 13 percent of whom said they had donated to presidential campaigns.

Of those who contributed, 67 percent donated in person, over the telephone, or through the mail. A further 50 percent said they contributed online or via e-mail.
Meanwhile, 10 percent said they had made donations on their cellphones, either by text message or using a mobile app.

"That works out to just 1 percent of all American adults who have made a presidential contribution directly from their cell phone this election season," the report's authors note. "By way of comparison, prior Pew Internet research has found that roughly one in 10 American adults have made a charitable donation of any kind using the text messaging feature on their cell phone."

The poll was conducted at the end of September, just about a month after the campaigns of both GOP candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama began accepting donations by text message. Under the system, which has been used by charities for several years but just got the green light from federal election officials earlier this year, donations are charged to users' phone bills.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to use online methods to contribute, the survey found. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats said they had donated online, versus 34 percent of Republicans. Fifteen percent of Democratic respondents said they had donated via cellphone, compared to 6 percent of Republicans.

The survey was the result of two landline and cellphone polls conducted during the last two weeks of September. The margin of error for the entire survey is +/- 2.6 percentage points, while the margin of error for the presidential campaign contributors is +/-6.3 percentage points.

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