What your Internet use says about your politics

May 13, 2014

If you’re reading this at your desk, alongside a tab open to your online brokerage account, you’re probably a Republican, and you’re likely to turn out to cast a ballot in November. If you’re reading this on your iPhone with earbuds in, listening to music, you’re probably a Democrat, but you’re much less likely to show up to vote.

Those are some of the broad conclusions drawn by reams of consumer data collected by Scarborough, the New York-based market research firm, and analyzed by Will Feltus and Tracey Robinson of National Media Research Planning & Placement, the Republican advertising firm. As it turns out, the way we use the Internet can say something about our political leanings.

Here’s what their chart looks like:

Data from Scarborough, analysis and graphic courtesy Will Feltus and Tracey Robinson, National Media Research Planning & Placement

(Click the graphic for a larger version)

Some of these trends fit stereotypes: Those who pay attention to sports, either on their desktops or on mobile devices, are more likely to vote Republican. Those who listen to music, look for a job or peruse the personals — think younger, single searchers — are more likely to vote Democratic.

And those most proficient with mobile devices are less likely to vote, because they’re more likely to be younger than those who use computers to navigate online. Take online banking: The average person who uses his or her computer to keep up with their finances is much more likely to vote than someone who checks in on a mobile device, and leans far more Republican.

The bipartisan online activities: Daily deals, from companies like LivingSocial, and watching video clips. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the left or the right, everyone loves a good cat video.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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