HPU/News & Record Poll: Majority of NC Residents Report Social Media Intimidation

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 17, 2020 – A recent High Point University and News & Record Poll finds that most North Carolina residents have seen someone try to socially or physically intimidate another person through social media because of politics.

Over half (53%) of poll respondents indicated that they have witnessed this type of behavior on social media. Only one-third (33%) indicated that they have not, while 15% of poll respondents weren’t sure or did not want to respond.

When asked to consider all the advantages and disadvantages of social media, most (41%) of poll participants said that social media has been both a good thing and a bad thing for politics in this country. About one-third (33%) said that social media is a bad thing for politics in this country, while 19% of North Carolinians said it’s a good thing.

The HPU Poll also asked North Carolinians where they prefer getting news about politics. Almost half (44%) said that watching news on television was their preference. Other political news preferences were news websites (19%), news from social media sites (13%), listening to news on the radio (9%) and reading news in a print newspaper (6%). Only 5% of poll respondents said that they do not get news on any platform.

“Many of our poll respondents said that they still prefer to get their news about politics by watching television,” says Brian McDonald, adjunct professor and associate director of the HPU Poll. “Although, North Carolinians’ second preference for political news comes from a news website, app or social media site.”

Lastly, the poll asked respondents if they use social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat to keep up with what is happening in politics. A majority (54%) said that they do not, while 43% said that they do use social media to keep up with politics.

All adults – News about Politics (January/February 2020)

Which of the following would you say you prefer for getting news about politics?

Watching news on television – 44%

Getting news from a news website or app – 19%

Getting news from a social media site (such as Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat) – 13%

Listening to news on the radio – 9%

Reading news in a print newspaper – 6%

Do not get news on any platform – 5%

No Answer – 5%

(All adult North Carolina residents phone and online sample, surveyed Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2020, n = 1,100 and credibility interval of +/- 3.6%)

All adults – Advantages/Disadvantages of Social Media (January/February 2020)

Overall, when you add up all the advantages and disadvantages of social media, would you say that social media has been mostly a good thing or a bad thing for politics in this country?

Good thing – 19%

Bad Thing – 33%

Some of both – 41%

Don’t Know – 7%

(All adult North Carolina residents phone and online sample, surveyed Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2020, n = 1,100 and credibility interval of +/- 3.6%)

All adults – Social Media Use (January/February 2020)

Do you use social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat to keep up with what is happening in politics?

Yes – 43%

No – 54%

Don’t know/refuse – 3%

(All adult North Carolina residents phone and online sample, surveyed Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2020, n = 1,100 and credibility interval of +/- 3.6%)

All adults – Social Media and Politics (January/February 2020)

Thinking about how people use social media to comment on politics, have you ever seen someone try to socially or physically intimidate another person through the use of social media because of politics?

Yes – 53%

No – 33%

Not sure – 13%

Prefer not to respond – 2%

(All adult North Carolina residents phone and online sample, surveyed Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2020, n = 1,100 and credibility interval of +/- 3.6%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Jan. 31 through Feb. 6, 2020 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 1,100 adults interviewed online (808 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (292 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/ to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using its Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classical margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.2 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education level based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2020/02/69memoB.pdf.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

 

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