Americans move to 'dual screens' to watch debates

October 11, 2012
Reporters watch the final minutes of the Presidential Debate between US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the University of Denver on October 3. More than one in 10 of the Americans who watched last week's presidential debate were "dual screeners"—watching on television while following on a computer or mobile device.

More than one in 10 of the Americans who watched last week's presidential debate were "dual screeners"—watching on television while following on a computer or mobile device.

Television remained the top source for debate watchers but some used multiple screens to get more information during the debate or to post comments on social media, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

The survey found that 56 percent of respondents followed live coverage of the debate between President and Mitt Romney.

Most watched on television, but 11 percent of these viewers were "dual screeners," the survey found. Another three percent say they followed the debate live exclusively online.

Only about five percent of the overall debate watchers said they shared their own reactions to the debate online.

But some earlier studies have shown people use mobile devices to follow social media or to check accuracy of comments while watching .

Overall, the latest survey showed 32 percent of those under age 40 said they followed the debate live online, including 22 percent who followed it both on television and online.

Combining live coverage and post-debate news, the survey found 70 percent got information from television, more than twice as many as from any other single source.

Around 32 percent said they followed debate coverage in newspapers, 29 percent from a mobile device and 22 percent from like or Twitter.

The post-debate survey by the for the People and the Press was conducted between October 4 and 7 among 1,006 adults.

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