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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Attention and Credulity

 Natalie Jackson at National Journal:

At best, only one third of Americans pay close attention to politics. In a recent Marquette Law School poll, just 36 percent of respondents said they follow politics most of the time. Using different wording, a Grinnell College-Selzer poll from March found that 28 percent of Americans say they pay a lot of attention to political news.

When it comes to paying attention to presidential campaigns, there is even more reason to think we dramatically overestimate how invested people are. Pew Research has asked respondents how much thought they have given to the candidates running for president in the lead-up to the last several presidential elections. In the summer of 2019, barely a quarter had given the candidates much thought. The figures were similar in mid-2015. (Pew has not yet asked the question for the 2024 cycle.)

The poll also found that older people are more likely to say that they follow politics "most of the time" 

  • 18-29  36%
  • 30-44  43%
  • 45-59  63%
  • 60+    74%
And so they tend to have more contextual knowledge, which helps them sort fake headlines from true ones.

 Sawdah Bhaimiya at Business Insider:

Boomers have always taken the flack for falling for fake news stories, but a survey has found it's younger generations that are more susceptible to online misinformation.

The survey of 1,516 US adults, published Thursday, was conducted by polling organization YouGov in April 2023. It examined how likely people were to be fooled by fake headlines. The survey is based on a framework called The Misinformation Susceptibility Test, developed by University of Cambridge psychologists.

The 2-minute test, now available to the public, required participants to look at 20 headlines and determine which were fake and real. It found that, on average, 65% of those surveyed were able to correctly classify them.

Surprisingly, the survey found that younger respondents were not as adept at spotting the difference between real and fake headlines as their older counterparts who have often been memed for their online naivete.