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Hispanics turning to Internet for news

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hispanics are turning to the Internet to get their political news, and more than four out of five younger Hispanics are using social media as their source for news, according to the latest survey conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) in the College of Business.

The survey also shows a digital divide in the use of the Internet for news and politics.

Hispanics with a college degree are more likely to use the Internet for their news source (52 percent to just 32 percent of Hispanics overall).

More than 68 percent of the highest earning respondents in the survey ($75,000 and above) check online for political news at least once per day.

Younger Hispanics (18-34) are most likely (84 percent) to use social media for their news. That contrasts sharply with 48 percent of those 55 and above who do not use social media for any of their news.

"Social media will have a huge impact on elections since it is an opportunity to be in touch with a large number of voters quickly, constantly and at a low cost," said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of BEPI.

The survey also found that males are more than twice as likely as females (34 to 14 percent) to seek out opinions that conform to their ideology. Older people (55 and older) are more likely to seek out contrary opinions (26 percent), compared with just over 5 percent of those 18-34 and 11 percent of those 35-54.

"Anyone that wants to reach Hispanics, especially the younger generation, needs to recognize the growing role that the Internet and social media are playing," said Kevin Wagner, associate professor of political science at FAU.