Voters turn to social media to declare their picks for president

Artist Jason Baalman poses in front of portraits of President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney that were made entirely of more than 2,000 individual Cheetos snacks.
(Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision for Cheetos/AP Images)

So much for the sanctity of the ballot box: More than 1 in 5 registered voters let other people know how they voted on a social media site such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a new study from Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Some 25% of President Obama supporters posted their presidential preference, compared with 20% of those who back his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

Social media has emerged as a notable platform for political persuasion: 30% of registered voters have been encouraged, by family or friends, to vote for one of the candidates via a social network, the Pew study found.


Female voters were more likely to get a social media prod to support either Obama or Romney.

In the close presidential contest, face-to-face conversations remain the primary way friends or family seek to persuade others to support their candidate. Some 48% of those surveyed said they had such a conversation in the last 30 days.

Younger voters, ages 18 to 29, were more likely than others to have been encouraged by their social circles to vote for Obama, Pew found.

The results are based on a phone survey of 1,011 adults conducted Nov. 1 to 4 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Its margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.6%.


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