For Election News, Most Californians Turn to Their Voter Guide, Poll Finds

For Election News, Most Californians Turn to Their Voter Guide, Poll Finds

LVoters cast their ballots in Los Angeles on June 5, 2018. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 6/19/2024


Most California voters read their official voter guides when seeking information about how to cast their ballots, a June 18 poll by the University of California, Berkeley, revealed.
The survey, conducted by the university’s Institute of Governmental Studies, allowed respondents to choose as many information sources as they wanted.
Results showed about 58 percent of the nearly 6,000 respondents cited the voter guides as their source for election information, while 40 percent reached for online or printed newspapers and magazines.
“The official California voter guide is intended to provide a common base of information for voters across the state,” said Eric Schickler, co-director of the institute.
Less favored sources were Google or other search engines (39 percent), social media (32 percent), national TV or cable news (31 percent), and family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers (31 percent).
The poll also measured what different age groups and races preferred. Results revealed older voters and white voters were most likely to rely on their official voter guides, newspapers and magazines, and television news.
Younger voters and voters of color were more likely to say they got their information from social media sites and search engines, according to the study.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok were the social media channels preferred by most California voters for election news, the study showed.
However, 60 percent of respondents said misinformation and disinformation were a major problem on the social media sites.
Authors of the survey said they were happy with the results but were concerned about the weight of online misinformation.
“We’re pleased to see the results of this important poll, and particularly interested in findings about the growing public concern over spreading online misinformation,” said Free Press Co-CEO Jessica González in a statement included in the university’s press release about the survey.
Free Press is a Los Angeles-based media advocacy group founded by former New York Times Op-Ed staff editor Bari Weiss and New York Times reporter Nellie Bowles.
“The platforms’ failure to address the scourge of misinformation on their networks is inflicting disproportionate harm on our communities, especially as people everywhere prepare to vote,” said Ms. González.
The poll also asked about voter attitudes toward the U.S. government’s recent legislation that would ban TikTok if the company doesn’t separate itself from its Chinese owners.
While the move was supported two-to-one, with 57 percent of respondents favoring it, about half of Californians who said they use the app were opposed.
The voters who said they use TikTok “very often” reported they would be “very upset” if the government followed through with a ban, according to the survey results.
The poll was conducted online between May 29 and June 4 in five languages.

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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