Study: Newspapers & the Local Political Landscape

  • Jim Conaghan
  • 05.03.2016

April 2016

This survey was commissioned to better understand the importance of local newspapers and their associated websites in the political process. The survey uncovers how consumers use their local community’s media resources for political information and voting decisions. In addition, the survey explores whether local newspapers have a strong impact on “Opinion Leaders”, and the degree to which Opinion Leaders’ influence over family and friends helps to elevate newspaper communications. Finally, the study measured how various types of media compare with respect to consumer trust, depth of coverage and influence.

WEB-Opinion Leaders-Newspapers-Political_5-26-16Summary of Key Findings:

Newspapers provide powerful reach of registered voters.

Newspaper reach is augmented significantly by their websites and apps.

Newspaper political advertising is an efficient advertising buy with its strongest reach concentrated among those most likely to vote.

Newspapers are particularly strong at reaching:

  • Opinion Leaders
  • Voters who are especially interested in news and events of their local community.
  • Liberal AND Conservative voters.
  • Those who make up their minds three or more weeks before the election.

Newspapers exceed or meet the strength of other forms of advertising on nearly every measure.

Download the presentation here.

Study Objectives

1. Demonstrate the importance of local newspapers and their associated websites
in the political process. How do residents use their local community’s media resources for political information and voting decisions?

2. Do local newspapers have a strong impact on Opinion Leaders? How much is newspaper communication magnified by this two-step flow of subsequent influence among family and friends?

3. How do the various media compare with respect to trust, depth of coverage, and media influence?

Study Methodology

  • The study was conducted in February 2016 by Nielsen Scarborough.
  • A total of 1,015 interviews were conducted nationally via online or phone.
  • Phone interviews were conducted to reach those without Internet access; online interviews were used to reach those who have Internet access.
  • This survey represents English-speaking registered voters over the age of 18.
  • Survey tolerance with 1,000 interviews is plus/minus 3%.

Source: Nielsen Scarborough

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jim Conaghan
Jim is the Vice President of Research & Industry Analysis at News Media Alliance.