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The “backfire effect” is mostly a myth, a broad look at the research suggests
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Jan. 18, 2017, 2 p.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
LINK: www.journalism.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Ricardo Bilton   |   January 18, 2017

Liberals and conservatives often get their news from different sources. A new study from Pew shows that, during the 2016 presidential election, Clinton voters and Trump voters also differed in another big way: the number of sources they relied on.

According to Pew Research, which surveyed 4,183 adults late last year, Fox News was the main campaign news source among 40 percent of Trump voters, who were asked to write in their choice. Among Clinton voters, however, campaign news consumption was far less dominated by a single source: 18 percent named CNN as their main campaign news source, with MSNBC, which 9 percent named, as the second most-popular choice. (Just 3 percent of Clinton voters said Fox News was their main news source during the election.)

There were, however, some significant similarities in both camps. The big television news brands, for example, dominated on both sides, taking up the top spots for both Trump and Clinton voters. Fifty-four percent of voters overall named television as their main election news source. Facebook, too, was a popular choice for both sides, which were almost equally likely to name the social network as their top source of political news (though their respective News Feeds likely looked very different). Both sides were also similar in that few named any digital news sites as their top campaign news sources. Named by just one percent of voters, not even Breitbart was cited as a main source.

Pew also found some notable intraparty differences in where people got most of their election news. Among Democrats who did not support Clinton, for example, four percent said Reddit was their top news source, which Pew said is “consistent with the age profiles of both groups of supporters.” Clinton voters also got more election news from television, whereas other Democrats relied more on digital publishers and social networks, also likely a reflection of the age differences between the two camps. On the Republican side, Breitbart was more popular among Trump voters than those who supported someone else during the primary (three percent vs. one percent).

The full report is here.

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