Poll: Local TV the top source of news for registered voters

Los Angeles Times | Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

Most people get their news from local TV news, according to a USC Annenberg/Los Angeles Times poll. That explains, James Rainey writes, "an enduring phenomenon, even of this Digital Age presidential race: the candidates' routine willingness to grant interviews to regional television outlets. President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney spend good chunks of many days connecting with local TV news stations in person or by satellite."

The USC/Times poll found that with a welter of new media alternatives available, there was only one source that a majority of registered voters turned to at least daily: local television news. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they watched their local TV news that often. That gives local stations considerably more reach than the second-most-common news source: local newspapers, in both their print and online versions. About 39% of those surveyed said they routinely turned to the local paper.

Consistent with a similar finding by Pew earlier this month, local TV news rates slightly higher in trust than local newspapers, the poll says. Forty percent of all respondents said the news media was "too liberal," 13 percent said it was "too conservative" and 29 percent said it was just right.

There's fun stuff in the poll's exquisitely detailed crosstabs.

When asked how long they read news, 25 percent of all respondents said between 30 minutes and an hour a day, 24 percent said "about an hour" and 10 percent said more than an hour, barely edging "Don't read news" (9 percent). Surprisingly, those numbers were similar whether people had kids or not.

And here's news that executives might want to consider while they try to figure out how to monetize mobile traffic: Four percent of respondents were informed about Mitt Romney picking Paul Ryan as his running mate via a smartphone. Of those people, 48 percent got a breaking news alert, 11 percent saw the news on Facebook and 9 percent heard via Twitter.

Related: 74 percent of adults get information from local TV newscast or website (Pew)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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