Internet use and the political knowledge gap in Spain


Work data:

Type of work: Communication




knowledge gap


Media availability and fragmentation and the resulting possibilities of content selection have risen dramatically with the expansion of new digital media. Previous research has found that this may increase knowledge gaps among citizens with different resources and motivations. This article analyses how Internet use affects political knowledge gaps due to education and to political interest in Spain. As expected, frequent Internet users are more knowledgeable about politics than non-users. Furthermore, Internet use increases knowledge more for the highly educated than for citizens with lower levels of education. Thus, the political knowledge gap related to education seems to be growing with the introduction of new media. However, the knowledge gap between citizens with high and low levels of political interest is smaller for frequent Internet users than for non-users. These fndings provide a complex picture and partially contradict the pessimistic theory about the impact of increasing media choice on political knowledge.