Only 69% of adults turned to the tube first for election news last month, the lowest percentage in at least 20 years, according to the weekly surveys taken for the Pew Research Center’s News Interest Index. The latest figure is down from 72% four years ago, 78% in 2004, and 86% in 2000. Broadcasters are seeing the biggest losses. Just 32% of adults cited local TV news as their primary source for election news, down from 40% four years ago. The national nightly newscasts were down to 26% from 32%. Cable news channels held relatively steady at 36%, down from 38%. As you might imagine, a lot of people now are turning to the Internet for their political news fix. It passed newspapers to become the No. 2 source of election news, with 34% turning first to the Web vs 26% in the 2008 campaign and 13% in 2004. CNN.com ranked first for politics junkies on the Internet, followed by Yahoo News and Google News. Only 22% picked newspapers as their first choice — down from 30% in the last presidential race, and about half of all adults back in 1996. Pew researchers say that the change is largely due to the fact that young adults consume news differently than do older people. For example, 45% of people over 65 primarily watch local TV newscasts to keep up with politics — but only 15% of those between 18 and 29 do so. Conversely, 29% of the young group looks to the Internet first vs 11% of those above retirement age.
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