Republicans are “much more likely” to trust the news they get from podcasts than other sources compared to Democrats, according to a new survey from Pew Research Centre.
The report surveyed 5,132 US adults in December 2022 and explored how listeners use podcasts as a source of news and information. Of the 49% of respondents who said they have listened to a podcast in the past 12 months, 67% said that news was discussed in the episodes they’ve been listening to.
Of those surveyed who described themselves as being (or leaning towards) Republican in terms of their politics, 46% said they trust news from podcasts more than from other channels. That’s compared to less than 20% of Democrat or Democrat-leaning respondents who said they place more trust in podcasts.
The only other difference between how Republicans and Democrats listeners consume news through podcasts is that members of the former party are also 19% more likely to listen to news on podcasts that “they wouldn’t have heard elsewhere” extremely or fairly often. Overall however, Democrat and Republican listeners generally consume news in the same amount, with roughly two-third of listeners in each party saying they have heard news on the podcasts they listen to.
However, news is not a priority for most of the respondents, as the report also showed that 60% of listeners are tuning into podcasts for entertainment and 55% are using them for learning. Podcasts also proved to have an impact on listeners on their day-to-day life in ways such as watching a movie, reading a book, or listening to music (60%) or even buying something promoted or talked about in the podcast (28%).
Although the podcast genre does not have to be news-focused, listening to opinions from hosts or guests about politics and government is still prominent, with just over half of listeners saying they’ve experienced this in podcasts and 25% of them saying that this content is either extremely or fairly common. Opinions expressed in those podcasts most commonly line up with the listeners’ views or serve an even mix of their views and opposing onesanother. However, it is extremely unlikely for the listener to tune into a podcast that does not line up with their views at all, as only 7% of the respondents said they’ve experienced that.
“Podcasts have become a big part of Americans’ routine, especially younger adults, offering unique news and information that many listeners say they wouldn’t have heard about elsewhere and often do not connect to a news organisation,” said Pew director of news and information Katerina Matsa. “What’s interesting are the reasons behind Americans’ strong appetite for podcasts – less so for news, but more so for general entertainment or education.”
News and political podcasts have also become more popular in the UK during the current economic climate as a recent report from Global revealed that 66% of survey respondents stated that they consumed more podcasts in 2022 compared to the year before and 71% of them planned to listen more this year. Currently in the UK charts, two out of the top five most popular podcasts in the country are both current affairs and political podcasts - The Rest is Politicsand The News Agents.