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Just the FACTS

Californians’ News and Information Sources

  • Television loses ground as the top source of political news.
    A plurality of Californians (38%) get most of their political news from television. Our findings were similar in 2010 (37%), but in 2007 this number was 9 points higher, at 47 percent. Over the same time period, reliance on the Internet for political news has increased 15 points (17% 2007, 24% 2010, 32% today). There has been a slight drop in reliance on newspapers (15% 2007 and 2010, 10% today) and radio news (12% 2007, 10% 2010, 9% today).
  • More than half of those who rely on TV watch cable news.
    Among those who watch television news, a little less than half (48%) report watching mostly cable stations (53% 2010, 43% 2007). Across all parties, regions, and demographic groups, pluralities report watching mostly cable news. By contrast, viewership of network television has remained steady (25% 2007, 23% 2010, 21% today). Twenty-seven percent of Californians report watching local television news (29% 2007, 22% 2010, 27% today).
  • The Internet continues to gain on TV as a primary news source.
    Relying primarily on the Internet to find out what’s going on in politics has increased from 6% in 2000, to 17% in 2007, to 24% in 2010, to 32% today. The Internet has overtaken television as a news source for several groups, including younger adults (51% Internet, 28% television), upper-income residents (42% Internet, 20% television), independents (35% Internet, 28% television), and college graduates (42% Internet, 19% television).
  • Fewer Californians go online to read newspapers…
    As the top information source, newspapers have declined since 2000 (31% 2000, 15% 2007, 15% 2010, 10% today). And only a third (29%) of those who look for news online say that they mostly access newspaper websites—a strong majority (67%) visit other types of websites. In 2010, 47% of those who mostly got their news online went to newspaper sites, while 50% went to other sites.
  • … and readership of print newspapers continues to decline.
    Among those who report getting most of their information about politics from the newspaper, online readership is growing (13% 2007, 24% 2010, 34% today). Readership of print papers is on the decline (87% 2007, 73% 2010, 66% today).
  • Half of Californians go online for news about state politics and elections.
    Half of Californians report going online for coverage of California politics and elections either often (18%) or sometimes (34%). Going online to get news about state politics has declined slightly since 2010 (22% often, 37% sometimes). Younger Californians (57% age 18 to 34, 53% age 35 to 54) are more likely than older residents (42% age 55 and older) to go online for state political news at least sometimes. Online consumption of news about California politics rises sharply as education and income levels increase.


Sources:PPIC Statewide Surveys, August 2000 (2,003 adults), September 2007 (2,003 adults), October 2010 (2,002 adults), and October 2014 (1,704 adults). Margin of error for all adults is ±2% in August 2000 and September 2007, ±3.1% in October 2010, and ±3.5% in October 2014; the margins of error for subgroups are larger.

Authors

Mark BaldassareMark Baldassare
President and Chief Executive Officer
Staffphoto LopesLunna Lopes
Research Associate
Dean BonnerDean Bonner
Associate Survey Director
StaffPhoto ShresthaJui Shrestha
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