Liberal Democrats ‘like’ more on the social web than conservative Republicans

Even before President Obama’s debate performance this week rallied the left, it seems that liberal Democrats found more to “like” online than their conservative counterparts.

A new study on social media and civic engagement from the Pew Internet & American Life Project released Friday compares social media behavior between Democrats, Republicans and independents. Among its findings it said that while 52 percent of liberal Democrats who use social media have used the “like” button, 42 percent of conservative Republicans have done so. Overall, Pew said that 38 percent of people who use social media “like” content related to political or social issues.

In general, the study, which included more than 2,200 adults of voting age or older, found that 66 percent of American adults who use social media –- or 39 percent of all American adults –- have done at least one of eight civic or political activities on social media. Not so surprisingly, the more partisan social media users are more likely than their moderate peers to use social networks for political purposes. Also (not so surprisingly), the study found that younger users are more vocal about their political leanings online than older social media users over 50.

Even though liberal Democrats tend to “like” more online, Pew reports that conservative Republicans are also quite active in social media and aren’t bested by Democrats on every social media action. For example, while 39 percent of Republicans have reposted content in social media, 34 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independents have done the same.  In general, 33 percent of social media have used tools for this purpose, the report said. Conservative Republicans (32 percent) also use social media to follow elected representatives in greater numbers than liberal Democrats (27 percent).

You can check out the full report here and see a few more findings from Pew below:

  • 35 percent of social media users have used social media to encourage people to vote. Democrats who use social media are more likely to have used social media to encourage voting — 42 percent have done that compared with 36 percent of Republican social media users and 31 percent of independents.
  • 34 percent of social media users have used the tools to post their own political or social thoughts and comments. Liberal Democrats who use social media (42 percent) and conservative Republicans (41 percent) are especially likely to use social media for this purpose.
  • 31 percent of social media users have used social media to encourage other people to take action on a political or social issue that is important to them. Democrats lead on this action with 36 percent, followed by Republicans with 34 percent and independents with 29 percent.
  • 28 percent of social media users have posted links to political stories or articles for others to read. 39 percent of liberal Democrats have done this, as have 34 percent of conservative Republicans.
  • 21 percent of those who use social networks or Twitter belong to a social networking group involved in political or social issues.

Image by SFerdon via Shutterstock.