Key findings and Insights Fact Sheet
Key findings and insights from the Montana Issues and News Media Preferences Survey
Major trends in utilization of available information sources:
- Traditional sources of news and information are dominant in Montana, but technology — led by online and mobile information sources — is changing how Montanans are informed about their key issues.
- Most Montanans turn to local and/or national television and the Internet to get their news: 53 percent television and 49 percent Internet.
- The majority of Montanans access local news sources to get their news over national news outlets: 64 percent turn to local TV news, 63 percent regularly read a local daily newspaper and 52 percent read their weekly community newspaper. Radio also continues to be a significant news source.
- 62 percent of Montanans say they have a trusted information source. Of those, 14 percent cite Fox News as their most trusted news source; 11 percent TV news in general.
Significant trends in Montana’s Internet use and online media consumption habits:
- At 84 percent, the rate of Internet access in homes now matches that found nationwide.
- In the state’s seven most populated counties the rate of Internet access at home is 89 percent, and in rural counties 75 percent.
- Four in 10 Montanans access news online or on a mobile device on a daily basis: 58 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 26 percent of adults over age 65.
- 62 percent of Montanans use social media. 76 percent of men age 18 – 49 are daily users of social media; 46 percent of men over age 50. 75 percent of women age 18 – 49 are daily users of social media; 66 percent of women over age 50.
- Facebook is the most-used social media network at 59 percent; Pinterest is second at 11 percent.
- 34 percent of Montanans use social media to access news and information; women age 18 – 49 access news on social media more than any other demographic.
Top 5 issues facing the state:
- Jobs and the economy — 32 percent of Montanans consider it the most important issue.
- Education — 18 percent of Montanans consider it the most important issue.
- Health care — 12 percent of Montanans consider it the most important issue.
- Moral values — 8 percent of Montanans consider it the most important issue.
- Energy & natural resources development — 8 percent of Montanans consider it the most important issue.
Methodology: The Montana Issues and News Media Preferences Survey was commissioned by the Greater Montana Foundation and conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana. The random-sample survey was completed April through May 2015 and surveyed 526 adults living in Montana. Public Opinion Strategies provided analytical assistance. The survey has a margin of error of ± 4.3 percent.