Pew Research with shocking findings: Cell phone and social media use up in elections

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Reading this blog on a smart phone? No surprise there!

According tot a study released by the Pew Research Center, cell phones and social media are playing a key roll in how voters get political news and information.

The number of Americans who use their cell phones to access political news or follow campaigns is double what it was in 2010 when Alex Sink lost her bid for governor after doing just what voters are – checking her cell phone. According to the poll, 28 percent of registered voters have used a cell phone to track the news during the 2014 election cycle verses just 13 percent in the last midterm. Social media follows of candidates running for office are also up sharply – 16 percent compared to just 6 percent in 2010.

Those numbers are the most profound among 30-49 year olds. In 2010 only 15 percent used a cell phone to read political coverage and just 6 percent followed candidates on social media. Those numbers are up this cycle to 40 percent and 21 percent respectively.

The study also shows a correlation between social media and digital device usage during election cycles. A good chunk, 16 percent, of voters who follow candidates on Facebook or Twitter also take active rolls in other types of engagement from volunteering with campaigns to donating money.

The study was conducted between October 15 and 20 among 2,003 adults including 1,494 registered voters.

Now put your phone down, get off of Facebook and vote.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.