With a contested primary in only one party this year, fewer Americans are closely following news about the presidential campaign than four years ago. As a consequence, long-term declines in the number of people getting campaign news from such sources as local TV and network news have steepened, and even the number gathering campaign news online, which had nearly tripled between 2000 and 2008, has leveled off in 2012.
The one constant over the course of the past four elections is the reach of cable news. Currently, 36% of Americans say they are regularly learning about the candidates or campaign on cable news networks. That is virtually unchanged from previous campaigns, yet cable news is now the top regular source for campaign news.
The cable networks also hosted most of the candidate debates, which stand out as a particularly interesting aspect of the campaign. Nearly half of Republicans (47%) have watched a GOP debate during this campaign, up from 32% at a comparable point four years ago.
Read the full report, Cable Leads the Pack as Campaign News Source, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.