A new Pew Internet report found that in the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections, 22 percent of online adults were “political social media users.” They used social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to get involved in a campaign, share political news and information, or encourage their friends to commit to vote.
And unlike in 2008, Democrats do not have an advantage:
Overall, Democratic and Republican voters are equally likely to use social networking sites (among internet users, 58% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans do so). This is a notable change from the 2008 campaign, in which Obama voters were significantly more likely than McCain voters to use these sites, and reflects recent overall trends in social networking site adoption by older adults (who tend to lean Republican in their voting habits). Similarly, both supporters and detractors of the “Tea Party” movement each use these sites at roughly similar rates (54% of internet users who agree with the Tea Party movement and 60% of those who disagree with the group use these sites, a difference that is not statistically significant).
Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist at Pew, said in a statement:
The social networking population as a whole has grown larger and demographically more diverse in recent years, and the same is true when it comes to political activity on social networking sites. These platforms are now utilized by politically active individuals of all ages and ideologies to get news, connect with others, and offer their thoughts on the issues that are important to them.