November 9, 1995
CONTACT: Kim Alexander
(916) 325-2120


SACRAMENTO -- A just-completed poll of California voters shows a significant number are turning to the Internet for information on political events, candidates and ballot measures.

According to the survey, commissioned by the California Voter Foundation (CVF) and conducted by David Binder Research, nine percent of the state's registered voters said they receive election information from online computer services. More than one in four of those surveyed said they would like to go online for election information in the future.

CVF executive director Kim Alexander said the survey findings demonstrate that voters are looking beyond traditional sources of campaign advertising and news coverage to find information of their choosing. "Many voters want to make more informed choices. They need and deserve better information than slick mailers and sound bites," Alexander said.

CVF, a non-profit organization based in Sacramento, specializes in non-partisan online voter education. Last month, CVF unveiled the San Francisco Online Voter Guide ( -- a World Wide Web site on the Internet that provides comprehensive information on this year's municipal election and includes, for the first time ever, an online database of campaign contributions and expenditures that voters can search prior to casting their ballots. (A runoff election for San Francisco Mayor and District Attorney will be held December 12, 1995).

The San Francisco guide was the second developed by CVF. Last year, CVF produced the 1994 California Online Voter Guide as a resource for information on statewide candidates and ballot measures. The 1994 guide was accessed more than 14,000 times, with over 36,000 file retrievals; in the first two weeks the San Francisco guide was up, documents from the site were accessed over 9,000 times.

"Online voter information gives voters control over their own education process," Alexander said. "The Internet allows voters to be proactive consumers of information. Our voter guides contain hundreds of pages worth of information, and are available online 24 hours a day. Voters can go online when it's convenient for them, and select and read the documents they feel are most useful." Alexander said the poll results underscore the need for CVF's cutting-edge approach to voter education. "Our poll shows that the number of voters who turn to the Internet for election information will continue to rise. CVF will be there to provide voters with non-partisan, meaningful information." Alexander noted that CVF is now developing its voter guide for the March 1996 California Primary, which will feature information on Presidential candidates, legislative races and statewide ballot measures.

According to survey director David Binder, campaigning via the Internet, though in its infancy, is likely to take on a much greater role very quickly. "These survey results are striking. They clearly demonstrate that campaigns cannot afford to ignore the Internet as a method of communicating with voters," Binder said.

Binder noted that most voters surveyed still continue to use traditional sources of information in much larger numbers. The poll revealed that 70 percent receive campaign information from daily newspapers, 60 percent from television, 25 percent from weekly newspapers and 39 percent from radio. The nine percent of likely voters using online election information is particularly significant, Binder observed, because it is a brand new communciation medium. A total of 800 registered voters were interviewed for the survey, conducted October 29 - November 2, 1995.

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