June 1, 2015

Millennials and Political News

Appendix A: Within Each Generation, More Similarities than Differences

One question we wanted to explore was the degree to which differences in political news habits exist within a generation. The Baby Boomer generation spans 18 years, Gen Xer spans 15 years and adult Millennials span 15 years.3

These data reveal strong levels of similarity between the younger and older cohorts within each generation when it comes to political news habits. Political interest among the young and old of each generation, for example, is roughly the same. But there are also some differences worth noting. Below are highlights of notable differences in awareness and use of news sources.4

Young and Old Millennials (18-25 and 26-33)

Awareness of News Sources

Older Millennials were more familiar with 19 out of 36 sources than their younger peers; none were less well known among this group.

Use of News Sources

Older Millennials turn to three sources at higher rates than younger Millennials: MSNBC (28% versus 15%), CBS (23% versus 16%) and Yahoo News (32% versus 23%).

Use of Social Media for News

Older Millennials turn to Google Plus at higher rates than younger Millennials (10% versus 5%). But younger Millennials turn to Twitter at higher rates than older Millennials (17% versus 10%).

Young and Old Gen Xers (34-41 and 42-49)

Awareness of News Sources

Young and old Gen Xers are on par for 34 of the 36 sources. The only two where older Gen Xers show a higher rate of awareness are MSNBC and Politico.

Use of News Sources

Older Gen Xers turn to five sources at somewhat higher rates: CBS (34% versus 20%), Fox (41% versus 30%), NBC (40% versus 30%), The Wall Street Journal (12% versus 6%) and USA Today (15% versus 8%).

Use of Social Media for News

Younger Gen Xers get news from Google Plus at higher rates than older Gen Xers (10% versus 3%).

Young and Old Baby Boomers (50-58 and 59-68)

Awareness of News Sources

Older Baby Boomers display higher levels of awareness than younger Baby Boomers for eight sources: Bloomberg, The Glenn Beck Program, The Sean Hannity Show, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, The New Yorker and The Blaze; Younger Boomers display higher awareness of The Washington Post.

Use of News Sources

Older Boomers are more likely to get political news from four sources: Limbaugh (17% versus 8%), Hannity (17% versus 10%), The Blaze (9% versus 5%) and Glenn Beck (12% versus 6%).

Use of Social Media for News

Older Boomers are less likely to have gotten news on Facebook than younger Baby Boomers (31% versus 44%), and slightly less likely to get this news on Twitter (7% vs. 3%) and YouTube (12% vs. 7%).

  1. No chronological end point has been set for this group.
  2. Trust measures are not included here due to the complication of factoring in awareness. For the percentages of each intergenerational cohort that trust and distrust each source contact the Pew Research Center. When level of awareness is more than 90% between groups within a generation, any difference statistically is not considered substantive.