Does your political leaning say anything about how you use Facebook‘s “Like” button or social media in general? It could. The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found, among other things, that liberal Democrats are more likely to hit the “Like” button than conservative Republicans.
Specifically, 52 percent of liberal Democrats have “liked” a post to promote material related to politics, while 42 percent of conservative Republicans have done so. Pew also found that 38 percent of the social media-using population has used the “like” function to promote political issues.
Democrats are also more likely to encourage people to vote on social media. Forty-two percent have done so, compared to the 36 percent of Republicans.
In other areas of social media use, though, it appears that Democrats and Republicans aren’t all that different. For instance, Pew said 42 percent of liberal Democrats and 41 percent of conservative Republicans who use social media have posted their own thoughts or comments on social media sites.
Pew said 39 percent of Republican social media users repost political content from others, while 34 percent of Democrat social media users do so.
“There is a mixed picture along party lines. One party doesn’t have an obvious social media edge. The biggest driver here is whether you are interested in politics in the first place. If you talk about it with friends, you are going to use the social tools to talk politics,” Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center, told ABC News.
Kay Lehman Schlozman, a professor of political science at Boston College and co-author of the survey, said, “I would not hyper-analyze the differences. What is clear is that the liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are more active than moderates or independents because they care so much more about politics.”
Beyond partisanship, the rise in usage is certainly the major takeaway. The report found that 66 percent of the social media users use services like Twitter or Facebook to engage in some form of political discussion. According to Pew, that amounts to 39 percent of all American adults.
The results of the report were based on a survey of a national sample of 2,253 adults (18 or older). It is important to note that the survey was conducted between July and August and that some of these patterns may have changed as the election season has progressed.