After first gaining prominence as tools for political engagement during the 2008 presidential election, social media became a regular part of the political environment for voters in the 2010 midyear elections. Some 22% of online adults used Twitter or social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace in the months leading up to the November, 2010 elections to connect to the campaign or the election itself.
In contrast to the 2008 race—in which Democratic voters led the way in their use of online social networks for political purposes—Republican voters and supporters of the “Tea Party” movement caught up with Democrats in their use of social media in 2010.
“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.” said Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher Specialist and author of the report. “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.”
Read the full report, 22% of Online Americans Used Social Networking or Twitter for Politics in 2010 Campaign, on the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project Web site.