The entire American electorate isn't tapping social media to pester their friends and families to vote - it only seems that way.
Overall, 30 percent of registered voters report having been urged to vote for President Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney through posts on Facebook and Twitter, according to an Election Day report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But just one-fifth of registered voters report urging their friends and family to vote one way or the other using social media.
Slightly more - 22 percent - of registered voters have shared their voting plans via Facebook and Twitter. Facebook put up a live, interactive map called America Votes 2012 to track in real time how social-network users are announcing their votes. It breaks down these self-reported votes for each state, and by gender and age bracket, but there's no information on how Facebook users voted.
The numbers don't break for one candidate or other: A quarter of registered voters report hearing from Romney supporters via social media, and the same percentage are receiving posts touting Obama.
Age is the controlling factor. The survey reports that 45 percent of voters ages 18-to-29 were urged to vote for a particular candidate via social media, and 34 percent of that group advocated for a candidate themselves. These numbers drop off significantly for older voters. Among voters ages 50-to-64, just 16 percent report urging others to vote for a particular candidate and 27 percent report receiving encouragement to vote. For voters over 65, a mere 9 percent used Twitter or social-networking site to tout their candidate, and 11 percent received such entreaties.
Voters were more likely to report real-world interactions. More than half said they were urged to vote for a candidate in face-to-face conversations. But social networking appears to be a more popular method of peer-to-peer persuasion than telephone calls, e-mails, and text messages. The Pew survey is based on 861 telephone interviews with registered voters conducted between November 1 and November 4.
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