It has been 20 years since NBC’s Tim Russert created a memorable moment on Election Night. Trying to help his audience make sense of electoral college math, he used a white board and markers, along with the visual and personality power of the television medium, to emphasize the “need to know” points. It made for political and media history.
Much has changed in politics and in media since that November night in 2000, but new research shows that one thing hasn’t. Americans of all political stripes will still rely on their TVs next week.
According to a new study by Navigator Research, 56% of voters say they will rely on national TV networks (broadcast and cable) for “information you need to understand the election results.” That includes 65% of Democrats, 48% of Republicans and 48% of independents.
There’s even cohesion about local TV news, which 44% of voters day they will depend upon. That includes 49% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 48% of independents.
All of the amateur pundits who have been driving you nuts on social media lose in this survey. Just 17% of voters plan to count on social media posts to keep them informed and help them understand, representing 20% of Democrats, 14% of Republicans and 17% of Democrats. On behalf of your family, friends and acquaintances, please keep that in mind if you plan to “Facebook-spain” something about what you think happened.
But just when you think everybody is lined up for a shared experience after Election Day, don’t start feeling too good. One-third of Republicans say they expect the Trump campaign to provide them with the information they will need to understand results. That compares to 29% of Democrats and the Biden campaign.
Overall, as the debate ratings proved again this year, even as the media business continues to evolve quickly, Presidential campaigns on TV are about the closest thing we have to “mass media” left in our society. Other than, of course, pro football.