Major news sources for political information: TV (78%), newspapers (38%), radio (16%), Internet (15%), magazines (4%)

Pew Internet surveyed Americans on their primary sources of getting political news and information.Television is the primary news source for political information, but broadband users increasingly get their information online.

Pew Internet surveyed Americans on their primary sources of getting political news and information.

Television is the primary news source for political information, but broadband users increasingly get their information online. Three-quarters of all Americans (78%) say television is a main source of campaign news. Some 38% of Americans say newspapers are a primary source; 16% say radio; 15% say the internet; and 4% say magazines. (These figures don't add up to 100% because respondents were allowed to give up to two answers.) In addition: 83% of respondents say TV is where they get most of their information about the war in Iraq. 69% of respondents say TV is where they get most of their information about the issue of gay marriage. 59% of respondents say TV is where they get most of their information about the issue of free trade. 31% of Americans with high-speed connections at home identify the internet as a main source of campaign news. This rivals the share of broadband users who say newspapers are a main source (35% do) and far exceeds the 15% who identify the radio as a main source of campaign news.

31% of Americans with high-speed connections at home identify the internet as a main source of campaign news. This rivals the share of broadband users who say newspapers are a main source (35% do) and far exceeds the 15% who identify the radio as a main source of campaign news. Internet news is mostly used as a complement to more traditional media. Still, a large number of people have gone to non-traditional Web sites to get information. Of those who get news online on an average day, 90% also got news from a newspaper or TV. Of those who ever get news online, 99% also get news from a newspaper or TV. The Web sites of major media organizations continue to dominate as sources of online news about politics and public affairs.

But political news sites not associated with a major news organization are beginning to get a foothold for internet users, particularly those with broadband at home. Some 24% of home broadband users are going to alternative online sources. Some 24% have visited the web site of an international news organization, and 16% say they have visited a more partisan alternative news organization's site. Use of these alternative sources is almost always accompanied by use of other more mainstream sources. Nearly 100% of the users going to the alternative sites we asked about also use some other mainstream source. Again, this supports the idea that internet users, especially those with high-speed connections, are not organizing their searches to avoid arguments that would conflict with their views.

59% of all internet users have gotten news from a major news organization, with nearly three-quarters of broadband users having done so. 18% of internet users have gone to the Web site of an international news organization such as BBC or al Jazeera; one-quarter of home broadband users have done this. 11% of internet users have gone to alternative news sites such as AlterNet.org or NewsMax.com; one in six home broadband users have done this. 10% of internet users have gone to Web sites of liberal groups such as MoveOn.org, with 15% of broadband users having done this. 10% of internet users have gone to Web sites of conservative organizations such as the Christian Coalition. Some 10% of broadband users have done this. Taken together, 30% of all internet users have been to at least one of the four latter non-mainstream media sites. Notably, supporters of John Kerry are more drawn to non-mainstream sites than Bush supporters: 36% of Kerry supporters have been to a non-mainstream media site for political news. 29% of Bush supporters have been to a non-mainstream media site for political news.