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Despite Internet hype, readers look to print for political news

Nucleus Research report debunks 'YouTube Election' buzz

By Heather Havenstein
July 16, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - While the blogosphere delights in pitting the number of MySpace  friends or Facebook  friends Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) has vs. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Internet may have much less influence on the results of the upcoming presidential election than a newspaper or magazine, according to a study set to be released Monday.

More than 70% of those surveyed in June said that traditional print media -- mostly newspapers and magazines -- are their primary sources of political information, according to the study done jointly by research firm Nucleus Research Inc. and KnowledgeStorm Inc., which runs an IT search portal.

In addition, more than 56% of the 383 participants in the online survey said they place more trust in print mediums to provide impartial political information.

Only 19% of those surveyed said they use the Web sites of candidates for political information, while less than 5% turn to YouTube for such data.

"People still trust newspapers and magazines more than anything else…maybe because they feel like they have been edited and vetted more than a blog, said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus. "Blogs and streaming video may be interesting and amusing, but not necessarily as trusted as a report that has been reviewed and fact-checked by a couple of editors."

The survey also found that only 51% of respondents have a clear understanding of what the candidates stand for. Most of those surveyed -- 38% -- reported that Clinton is the most-effective Internet candidate, followed by Obama with 19%. Gov. Bill Richardson was ranked as the least-effective Internet candidate.

The survey also found that people believe the Internet has caused political campaigns to become "dirtier" that in the past, though they concluded that the ratio of positive to negative information is similar across print, TV and the Internet.

Read more about Internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

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