The Civitas Institute has released the results of their after-election poll of North Carolinians. They asked respondents why they didn't vote for certain candidates, and got some interesting answers. Since these were not multiple choice questions, the responses are all over the map, but in certain cases they group together nicely. In the governors' race, for instance, the top two reasons by far for not voting for Pat McCrory were the fact that he is a Republican and not having heard much about him. I'm not sure if this speaks badly for his campaign, the state and local party organizations or the media.
Another interesting finding is the changing sources of voters' information. Twenty-five percent of respondents cited cable news as their main source of political information. Next most popular was the Internet, at 15%, and newspapers and network news tied with 14%. Television still comes in strong, but with the popularity of Internet news sites and blogs and cable news channels, it looks to me as if people are seeking out a news source that they feel is right for them. Perhaps they are looking for the most thorough and in-depth reporting, but I suspect most people are gravitating towards an information source that reinforces what they already believe.
This trend is worrisome to some people, but I'm not troubled at all. It's really a step backwards, toward the time at the beginning of our nation when all the newspapers were blatantly and proudly partisan. We are so inundated with information nowadays that there isn't really much chance that people will be able to limit themselves to only hearing one point of view. I think that what the trend toward personalizing our news sources reveals is a growing awareness that there are really very few, if any, objective news outlets. And that's OK, as long as the people are aware.
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