Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly poll roundup.
On Monday, Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and currently the the richest man in the world, concluded a purchase agreement Twitter for around $44 billion. Twitter users have been tweeting all week about what it means — in large part because it’s not clear how Musk is who plans to privatize the companywill change platforms.
In his statements about his intention to buy Twitter, Musk said stressed the importance of freedom of expression for democracy, and called the social media platform “the digital city square where important things for the future of mankind are debated”. He also emphasized that he is against censorship. Many have interpreted this to mean that Musk wanted to significantly change the way Twitter regulates hate speech and misinformation.
But the digital marketplace Musk envisions may not materialize because Twitter never lived up to its goal of being a marketplace for ideas. Additionally, Americans don’t seem to like the social media platforms that completely eschew content moderation, with go-anywhere platforms never being as popular as the larger platforms that share some of what users do see, restrict. A town square that is a space for free speech runs the risk of becoming a place few people want to visit, which serves as its own limit on the type of speech it encourages.
Twitter, as it exists, now occupies a specific place in the social media ecosystem. Almost all the information we have shows that Twitter, even more than some other platforms, is used by a relatively small percentage of Americans. Important people such as politicians, business leaders, journalists and celebrities make statements or announcements on Twitter that have real consequences, and that’s about it useful for activism, which serve as a starting point for the development of new political conversations and movements. Especially black Twitter users report that Twitter is useful in this way. Overall, however, Twitter could be described more as a scrolling newspaper than a public space. Other social media sites like Facebook, extend further into the information ecosystem and rather reveal what most Americans are currently reading, sharing and saying.
The Pew Research Center regularly conducts surveys of social media use in the United States and the United States most popular networks on demographics and political affiliation, YouTube and Facebook are far behind. As of early 2021, 81 percent and 69 percent of American adults, respectively, reported using these two sites, and the majority of each site’s users visited them frequently. This is especially true for Facebook: 71 percent of users said they visit the page daily, and nearly half of all users visited it multiple times a day.
By comparison, just under a quarter of American adults said they were on Twitter. and acc a Pew study published in April 2019, just a tiny fraction (10 percent) of its adult users in America accounted for 80 percent of all tweets from the same group. and acc another Pew poll from 2021, only a very small proportion of tweets from American adults (14 percent) were original content. In other words, these users mostly retweet, quote, tweet, or reply.
So if Twitter seems like a place where random funny thoughts or outrageous statements go viral and fast the topic of the day, there may be some evidence of that. That’s the way Twitter is turns conversations into a kind of gamewith likes and other metrics that reinforce the sense of winning or losing, and so the people on Twitter are the ones who enjoy playing this game.
That average Twitter user is younger, more educated, and wealthier than the average American adult, and is also more likely to identify as a Democrat. This is especially true for very active Twitter users who also post a lot about politics. These users are slightly more likely to say that immigrants strengthen American society and see evidence of societal prejudice against women.
have conservatives said they felt censored on Twitterespecially after the former president Donald Trump was banned after the January 6 riot in the Capitol. But conservatives may be less well received on Twitter simply because it’s not their target audience — not because they’re being targeted, as they claim.
And lax rules, which many believe Musk will do, may not bring many conservatives back. In fact, most platforms have tried to lure conservatives with relatively little content moderation never really decreasedexcept arguably Telegram, which could have more to do with its encrypted messaging and private chat groups option.
While it’s too early for many polls as to how Americans feel about Musk’s purchase of Twitter, a Momentive poll released on Monday found that 41 percent of Americans thought positively about Musk (31 percent didn’t know). Fifty-three percent thought Twitter was going in the right direction as a company, and a majority of US adult Twitter users (43 percent) said Musk would have a positive impact on the platform’s direction. Overall, however, 66 percent of Americans said social media does more harm than help to freedom of expression and democracy. However, this reasoning strongly contradicted party lines: Republicans tended to think it was more important to speak freely online, while Democrats tended to think it was more important that people feel safe and welcome online.
In the days since Twitter accepted his offer, Musk has criticized some of his executives, accusing them of leftist bias, and Twitter staff are reportedly emotional and insecure about their future. Ben Collins at NBC News also reported that Twitter confirmed that notable fluctuations in the number of followers of some users indicate that some users are leaving the company while others are joining.
Perhaps more than other social media platforms, the nature of the Twitter conversation is ultimately shaped by who is accessing it and how users feel about what they see. Musk has said his intended changes to Twitter will “unleash” its potential., but so far, Twitter’s influence has come from its small but elite cadre of avid users who have the power to amplify the conversations they see there. It’s also the group most likely to quickly adapt to using another app that suits their needs and meets their goals when Twitter changes in ways they don’t like.
Other polling bites
- Thirteen percent of Americans age 65 and older remained completely unvaccinated against COVID-19, according to data recently released by the COVID States Project. However, the majority of older Americans (71 percent) were fully vaccinated and up-to-date, although there are fairly wide variations by education and income level. Fifty-seven percent of those with some high school education were fully vaccinated and refreshed, as was 60 percent of those earning $25,000 or less a year — both much lower rates than those with a college degree or $100,000 annual income or more (both 83 percent).
- American has strongly advocated taking in up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, according to a Gallup poll April 1-19. 78 percent of Americans supported it, while only 21 percent opposed it. This is the highest level of support from the various refugee crises Gallup has surveyed. (The polls go back to 1939.). Likewise, a Morning Consult poll conducted April 23-24 found high levels of support 72 percent of registered voters said they supported her Resettlement of Ukrainian refugees to the USA
- Shortly thereafter a judge crushed the national mask mandate on planes and other public transportation over the past week, it has emerged that a slim majority of Americans oppose such mandates. According to an April 21-25 Quinnipiac University poll, 51 percent of Americans did did not support wearing masks on planes, while 46 percent supported it. However, 56 percent said they would continue to wear masks on planes even if it wasn’t required. Masking other forms of public transport, such as buses, subways and trains, created a similar split in the poll.
- Forty-six percent of Americans said they did experienced more extreme weather in their area in recent years, while 54 percent said they have not, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll April 5-8. Of those who said they had experienced more extreme weather, 62 percent said it made them more concerned about climate change, 30 percent said it didn’t change their mind, and 8 percent said it did made less concerned. Of course, opinion on this is highly divided across party lines, with Democrats (74 percent), who have experienced more extreme weather, far more likely than Republicans (37 percent) to say they are now more concerned about climate change.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, 41.7 percent of Americans approve of the work Biden is doing as president, while 52.5 percent oppose it (a net approval rating of -10.8 points). At this time last week, 41.8 percent agreed and 52.3 percent disagreed (a net agree of -10.5 points). A month ago, Biden had an approval rating of 41.7 percent and a disapproval rating of 53.1 percent, for a net approval rating of -11.4 points.
In our average of polls for the general congressional vote, Republicans currently lead by 2.5 percentage points (45.2 percent vs. 42.6 percent). A week ago, Republicans led Democrats by 2.3 points (44.6 percent to 42.3 percent). At this point last month, voters preferred Republicans by 2.1 points (44.4 percent to 42.3 percent).