SINGAPORE - Younger Singaporeans tend to perceive new media as a "more important and trustworthy" source of information, a survey revealed.
About a quarter of 2.3 million voters in the May 7's General Election 2011 (GE 2011), aged between 21 and 35, also showed a higher tendency to vote for opposition parties compared to the rest of the population.
The post-election survey, conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), focused on new media consumption patterns of Singaporeans.
However, the Internet had little impact in influencing voter decision during GE 2011.
The survey found that the media consumption pattern of young voters was still largely traditional even though they had more access to new media sources. This cohort of voters watched television, read newspapers and went to mainstream media websites instead of obtaining information to blogs or alternative sites.
While the study showed the majority of young people voted for the ruling People's Action Party (26.2 per cent), the percentage of votes for the opposition was higher, compared to the total population.
15.9 per cent of young Singaporeans voted for the opposition compared to 10.8 per cent among the total population.
About 65 per cent said they believe there is too much government control over mass media content and about 50 per cent said there are too many rules of political participation in Singapore.
Researchers attributed the results to the type of information that was available online, suggesting that opposition parties have turned to less-expensive online platforms to campaign.
Assistant Professor Trisha Lin from the Nanyang Technological University Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information said: "The voting pattern is more favourable to the opposition parties. One of the reasons could be (the) opposition parties... don't have too much access to the mass media."
The survey also revealed three topics - governance, the quality of a candidate and Singapore's political system - that voters were exposed to by bloggers.
Researchers also said that new media tools could be further exploited to engage political participation.