Most adults follow news about elections, particularly news related to presidential elections

Most adults follow news about elections — from presidential (77%) and state (64%) elections to local ballot initiatives (59%) and policies (70%) — at least somewhat closely. And about half of the public follow news regarding presidential elections very or extremely closely compared to about a third who say the same about policies or issues, or state and local elections. Only a quarter of adults say they follow news about local and state ballot initiatives very or extremely closely.

Adults follow news about presidential elections more closely than news on policies, local elections, or ballot initiatives

The public gets news about elections from a variety of sources, yet national and local organizations stand out as most frequently used

Adults rely predominantly on national or local news organizations for their election news. Social media platforms or information shared by friends or family rank as the second-most-frequently used sources for election news. In contrast, voter guides from news organizations, candidate websites or social media, or input from community or faith leaders, are far less frequently used for election news.

National and local news organizations are the most frequently used sources of news about elections

Trust of the most frequently used news sources about the 2024 election is somewhat low

Despite reliance on traditional national or local news sources for election news, about half have a moderate or great deal of confidence in the information they receive from these sources. And only about 1 in 10 adults express a great deal of confidence in them.

This moderate level of confidence in news regarding the 2024 elections is similar to the public’s confidence — or lack thereof — in the accuracy of vote counting in the upcoming election. According to a December 2023 AP-NORC poll, 46% of adults express a great deal or quite a bit of confidence that votes in the 2024 presidential election will be counted accurately. Another 23% express a moderate amount of confidence, while 31% have little or no confidence at all.

 ALT TEXT: Only about 1 in 10 have a great deal of confidence in the information they get about the 2024 elections from these sources

The public holds a number of concerns about news coverage of the 2024 election

Roughly half of adults say they are extremely or very concerned about news organizations reporting inaccurate or unverified information, as well as focusing excessively on divisions or controversies in their coverage of the 2024 election. About 4 in 10 are worried that the media may report news favoring one side, utilize generative artificial intelligence (AI) for story creation, prioritize speculation on election outcomes over addressing important issues, or fail to represent local community perspectives. Fewer are concerned about news media prioritizing election coverage at the expense of other relevant topics.

Adults are concerned about misinformation, unverified information, and too much focus on controversies in the news coverage of the 2024 elections

The public has similar preferences for coverage from national and local news organizations

The survey asked respondents which topics or aspects of the election they would like to see covered more during the campaigns to help them make decisions about the election.

For both local and national news organizations, the topics the public anticipates they would want covered most are the candidates’ values or character or their policy positions. About 2 in 3 adults say they would like national and local news media to cover how votes are tabulated, legal troubles or investigations tied to the candidates, and the public’s views on key social issues. About half of adults express a desire for coverage from these outlets about who is ahead or behind in the polling. These priorities largely do not differ between local and national news outlets.

Adults want similar election coverage from national and local news


» Next chapter: Election news, race and ethnicity

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