Home Real Voters’ Disinterest In Anti-Piracy Legislation May Give SOPA New Life

Real Voters’ Disinterest In Anti-Piracy Legislation May Give SOPA New Life

Interest in news about last week’s protest against anti-piracy legislation was highest among people under the age of 30, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey. The survey was conducted Jan. 19-22 among 1,002 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

While the Stop Online Piracy Act that was pending before the House and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, are on indefinite hold after last week’s protests, the Pew poll shows little interest in the protests outside of those under 30. The Pew poll may have politicians rethinking their decision to take political cover in the immediate aftermath of the protest, which included a day-long shutdown of Wikipedia, as people under 30 traditionally have low voter turnout rates.

An aide to a House member that supports SOPA said it was too soon to tell how lawmakers would work to move anti-piracy legislation. The aide, who asked that he and his boss not be identified, had not seen the Pew report, which was released Tuesday.

“But I think, like anything else, if there’s not strong constituent opposition, it makes it easier for us to move forward on issues like this,” he said.

The poll, it should be noted, covers news interest for the four days following Wednesday’s protest, meaning interest may have been conceivably higher amongst all age groups on Jan. 18, the day news coverage was most exhaustive. The poll also asks respondents to rank the story they were most interested in, so lower ratings in older age groups does not necessarily mean people over 30 have no interest in anti-piracy legislation.

The 23% interest rate in Web protest stories for people between the ages of 18 and 29 was higher than interest in any other age group covered by the story, as well as interest by people between 18 and 29 in the presidential election (21%) and the Italian cruise ship accident (16%).

Across all age groups, only 7% of respondents listed the Web protest as the story they were most interested in for the four-day period. Overall, 26% of respondents said they were most interested in news about the cruise ship accident, followed by news about the elections (23%) and the economy (10%).

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