Poll: More California Voters Not Paying Attention

Trend is traveling the wrong direction

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A quarter of California registered voters say they rarely pay attention to what's going on in government and politics, according to a new Field Poll released Monday.

    In the survey, 41 percent say they follow political news most of the time while about 33 percent say they follow it some of the time.

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    The 25 percent who say they follow news of government and politics "only now and then (or) hardly at all" is up from 20 percent in 1999 and 16 percent in 1979.

    Voters who consider themselves independents were the least likely to say they follow political news closely: Only 30 percent of nonpartisan voters said they paid close attention to political news, compared with 41 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans.

    And while half of Northern California respondents said they follow political developments closely, only one in three registered voters in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties said the same. Thirty-eight percent of respondents in other areas of Southern California reported closely following political news.

    Television is the main source of news about politics and government for 56 percent of those surveyed, followed by the Internet, at 44 percent, newspapers at 33 percent, radio at 24 percent, followed by other sources. The results varied by age, though, with the Internet as the primary source for news among those under 40.

    The choice of television news depends on one's political viewpoint, according to the survey. Democrats and independent voters were most likely to cite CNN and local TV news as their primary source, while Republicans cited Fox cable news. Other primary sources of news about politics were network news channels, Univision/Telemundo and Comedy Central.

    The survey questions did not specify what kind of political news respondents follow — national or state, for example.

    The Field Poll surveyed 950 registered voters by phone from June 3-13. The poll has a sampling error rate of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.