Take a look at the constant stream of tweets during the debates (there were 10 million within two hours of the first debate between Obama and Romney), and it’s obvious that not only are people watching the feuding candidates on TV but also on their phones, computers or tablets.
According to a study released by the Pew Research Center for the Press and the People, 85 percent of those who tuned in to the debate last week watched it on live TV, but 11 percent followed it online, either on a computer, phone or tablet. That means that one in 10 Americans used the two- or double-screen approach, watching TV while also holding a mobile device (phone or tablet) or computer.
Most of those who were following online were younger. Thirty-two percent of those younger than 40 said they tracked the debate online. The post-debate survey was conducted after the first presidential debate in a series of phone interviews with a national sample of 1,006 adults.
Pew also has some interesting stats when it comes to the social media activity. Only one-third of that 5 percent who followed the debates online said they shared their reactions online via Facebook or Twitter. Interestingly, there wasn’t a major difference along party lines in technology usage.
More details on the survey can be found on the Pew website, but it’s pretty clear that while the majority continues to stick to the boob tube for these major political events, the smaller, more portable screens are starting to provide another avenue for at least 10 percent.