The national interest in politics and mainstream policy is ramping up with just over one month before the presidential election. Data shows more people are engaging with political news and policy issues than at the beginning of the year, and a new survey shows just how 2020’s political interest barometer compares to previous presidential election years.
In an update to Gallup’s ongoing survey on political participation, 42 percent of U.S. voters say they are following national political news very closely ahead of the upcoming presidential election in November. The surge follows the typical trend for each cycle, where an uptick in political interest occurs around major elections. This year’s surge is the highest it’s been since 2008, when 43 percent said they were closely following national politics.
Democrats are showing a significant increase in following political news during this 2020 election cycle. With a reported 51 percent of Democrats closely following national political news, that’s the highest that number has been in the poll’s history. At 45 percent, Republicans are showing a slight downward trend in political interest over the last 12 years, while Independents are following political news at the highest rate since 2008.
In terms of the age differences for who’s paying attention to political news, those aged 55 or above are following the news at the highest rates in the poll's history. Those between the ages of 18-34, however, are still trending relatively low at 23 percent – far from the 32 percent observed in 2008.