New research from Pew finds that in the rapidly-expanding sphere of digital politics, liberals have the upper hand over conservatives. Seventy-nine percent of liberals use social media while just 69% of all adults do. Conservatives lag behind, with only 63% of them using any form of social media.
The liberal advantage is even more pronounced when looking at Twitter exclusively, with fully one in four liberals using the network compared to only 16% of moderates and 10% of conservatives.
Liberals are also more likely to use their cell phones to keep up with election or political news. More than one in three (37%) said they used their phones for such a purpose compared to 28% of moderates and 25% of conservatives.
What explains this liberal dominance in the digital sphere of politics? It seems pretty simple, actually: Young people. Those below the age of 30 are much more familiar with these newfangled technologies and hence more likely to use them. They also tend to be more liberal than the average American.
Indeed, Pew found that a whopping 92% of those between 18-29 years old used social networks. That makes younger Americans about 2.5 times more likely to use a social network than seniors (92% to 38%).
The numbers get even more lopsided when you look at Twitter specifically.
This age gap goes a long way towards explaining the liberal dominance in digital politics and helps explain why the Democrats are so much better at digital outreach than the GOP. Simply put, the Republicans’ base voters aren’t nearly as likely to be using these mediums, so there was less incentive for the party to expand its presence there. But as time goes on and the use of these programs becomes omnipresent, the GOP will have to catch up.