Yahoo Releases New Survey on the Impact of Technology on Politics in the United States

Results show a clear racial divide, with minority voters in
America feeling more optimistic about the potential for technology to
change the political process for the better

TUNE IN to the live-stream of Digital Democracy: The Yahoo News
Conference on Technology & Politics TODAY at 10:30am ET:

NEW YORK & SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ahead of the inaugural live event, Digital Democracy: The Yahoo News
Conference on Technology & Politics, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) today released
results of a new online survey that shows a clear racial divide over how
Americans feel about the effect of the Internet and social media on
politics. While voters overwhelmingly feel that social media and the
internet spread misinformation (83%), the findings show that minority
voters are especially likely to feel technology has made the American
political debate more representative.

Yahoo News commissioned the survey, conducted by Harris Poll in
September 2015 among 5,188 registered voters, to gain a deeper
understanding of their perspectives on the issues surrounding how
technology has influenced their ability to communicate with politicians,
their perspectives on cybersecurity, privacy, and the infrastructure of
technological education in this country.

According to survey highlights:

White Americans are by far the most pessimistic when it comes to the
country’s future

  • 71 percent of Caucasians believe the U.S. is “going off on the wrong
    track,” compared to 55 percent of Asians, 54 percent of Hispanics, and
    just 41 percent of African-Americans.
  • The majority of African-Americans (59%) think the U.S. is “going in
    the right direction.”

There are differences in how ethnic groups feel about whether
technology has empowered new voices in the political debate, with whites
being among the most skeptical across all categories

  • Three out of four African-Americans and Hispanics (74% and 73%)
    believe that the web and social media have “made political discussion
    more representative of what Americans really think,” as compared to
    two out of three Asians (69%), and just three out of five Caucasians
  • Fifty-five percent of African-Americans think that the Internet and
    social media have made minority voters “more influential” in politics,
    compared to 51 percent of Hispanics, 45 percent of Caucasians, and
    just 43 percent of Asians.
  • Seventy-eight percent of Asians feel that tech has made politics “more
    inclusive,” as do 77 percent of African-Americans, 72 percent of
    Hispanics, and 67 percent of Caucasians.

Minority groups are more optimistic than whites about the political
uses of tech

  • At roughly 60 percent, Caucasians fall 10 to 15 points behind
    African-Americans and Asians, and 3 to 6 points behind Hispanics in
    their view of whether it’s “easier to find the truth about an issue or
    candidates because of the internet and social media” (60%) and whether
    these technologies “ensure more transparency in the campaign process.
  • Fifty-seven percent of Caucasian voters think social media has made
    politics more negative, followed by Hispanics and Asians at 50 percent
    and 51 percent, and 41 percent of African-Americans.

Minorities have higher hopes for the possibility of engaging with
political candidates electronically as compared to whites

  • Fifty percent of African-Americans want to engage political candidates
    through social media, while only 32 percent of Caucasians feel the
    same way.
  • Hispanics scored among the highest in most categories of online
    engagement, as well as offline, physical world civic involvement.

    • They were most among the most likely to view a presidential
      candidate’s picture on social media (30%), to watch their video
      (30%) or to read their blog (26%).
    • They reported the highest levels of regularly posting on social
      media about current events (26%), attending a public meeting on
      school or town affairs (19%), attending a political rally, speech
      or organized protest (10%), and writing letters to newspapers (8%)
      or calling a radio show (8%).

Overall, 83 percent of voters believe that the web and social media
spread misinformation.
This includes:

  • 85% of Caucasians
  • 83% percent of Asians
  • 81% of Hispanics
  • 78% of African-Americans

Most voters have a limited view of the reach of their own influence
as an individual, even with the advent of social media

  • Just 23 percent of Hispanics believe technology has given them more of
    a voice in politics, 21 percent of African-Americans, 18 percent of
    whites, and 15 percent of Asians.

White Americans are most skeptical of information they see online

  • Nearly half (45%) of Caucasians think it’s difficult to know who to
    trust because every news organization has a bias, as compared to 34
    percent of Hispanics, 32 percent of Asians, and 29 percent of

African-Americans are more inclined to give government the benefit of
the doubt on matters of cyber-security

  • Nearly half of African-Americans think the government (47%) and
    corporate sector (46%) are “well prepared” for cyber attacks, as
    compared to a third of Hispanics (35% and 36%) and Asians (32% and
    33%), and just about one-fifth of Caucasians (20% and 21%).
  • 17 percent of African-Americans trust the government to keep their
    information safe from hackers, along with just 8 percent of
    Caucasians, 14 percent of Hispanics and 12 percent of Asians.
  • Sixty-seven percent of whites think former Secretary of State Hillary
    Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her time in government
    is a serious matter, compared to just 60 percent of Hispanics and
    Asians, and 42 percent of African-Americans.

The survey findings will be presented during Digital Democracy: The
Yahoo Conference on Technology & Politics at Drake University on
November 12, 2015. The full-day event will feature conversations with
high profile influencers including, elected officials, campaign
strategists, tech industry leaders, top journalists and futurists
discussing the ways in which technology is shaping the future of our
democratic process and the relationship between citizens and their

For more information on Digital Democracy: The Yahoo Conference on
Technology & Politics, go to:

Tune into the livestreamed event on Thursday, November 12, at 10:30am

Full survey results available upon request:


This nationally representative survey was conducted online within the
United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Yahoo from September 15-25,
2015 among 5,188 US adults ages 18 and older who are registered to vote.
This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no
estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete
survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact the
Yahoo PR team.

About Yahoo

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Yahoo! Inc.
Caitlin O’Neil, 212-571-8042