In terms of government and politics coverage, the Media Insight Project survey of Americans ages 16 to 40 provides some clues for news organizations looking to understand this constituency and their news habits. This section examines the demographics and news behavior of the 15% of Millennials and Gen Z who say they most closely follow national politics or government.
Compared with the overall Gen Z and Millennial demographic make-up, the group that says national politics and government is their most frequently followed “hard news” topic skews somewhat demographically. The audience is older, whiter, more male, and more educated than the Millennial and Gen Z population overall.
However, the audience is still diverse. For example, while those who follow this topic most often are more likely to be older Millennials; Gen Z and younger Millennials represent half of the topic’s close followers. And Gen Z and Millennials who follow national politics and government most closely are more likely to be white, but a quarter are Hispanic or Black.
Men are more likely than women to closely follow national politics or government; women make up just over a third of the topic’s close followers.
About half of those who follow national politics and government closely have a college degree and half do not.
Gen Z and Millennials who follow news on national politics closely are more likely to identify themselves as a Democrat or a Republican rather than an independent.
Most Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow news about national politics do so daily regardless of their race, age, gender, and education, but there are some partisan differences
Among Gen Z and Millennials who follow news about national politics or government most often, 72% follow the topic at least daily. As one of the most-followed topics, it has a broad audience of daily followers — including majorities across generations, race and ethnicity, education, gender, and the type of community they live in. However, differences arise when it comes to party identification.
Gen Z and Millennials who identify as Democrats and follow news about national politics or government most often are more likely than Republicans or independents to follow news about national politics or government at least daily.
Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are the most-used social media platforms for those closely following national politics or government
Facebook is still the predominant social media pathway for news overall and for some most-followed topics. But when it comes to getting news about national politics or government, there are three prominent platforms: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. About a quarter of Gen Z and Millennials who most closely follow news about national politics or government consider at least one of the three platforms as their primary social media source for the topic.
About 10% of Gen Z and Millennials who most closely follow national politics or government get news on it through either Reddit or Instagram; about half as many use TikTok.
Close followers of national politics and government use a diversity of social media accounts to get information
Overall, Gen Z and Millennials use a variety of social media accounts to get their information about national politics or government. Social media accounts from national TV networks and local TV stations and from individuals they do not know personally, including journalists, influencers, celebrities, or other social media users, are the most-used accounts for news on national politics among those who follow the topic closely. However, other popularly used social media accounts include those of national and international newspapers, online-only publishers, and local news organizations.
National TV is the most-used traditional source of news on national politics or government for close followers of the topic; podcasts, online aggregators and newspapers also stand out as key sources
A quarter of Gen Z and Millennials who follow news on national politics and government most often use national TV to get that news, making it the most-used traditional source. Although national TV is also a source for other issues we examine in this report — particularly for information related to COVID-19 — national politics is the topic for which Gen Z and Millennials’ reliance on national TV is most evident.
Compared with the other topics, podcasts, online aggregators (such as Apple News or Google News), and newspapers stand out as important sources of information on national politics and government for those who follow news on national politics closely.
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