Poll finds 87% of N.H. uses the Internet

Almost 90 percent of New Hampshire residents use the Internet from home and half use it from work, making the state one of the most wired in the nation, according to a poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

But the latest Granite State Poll also found that, despite residents’ unprecedented access to the Web, television and newspapers remain the most popular sources for news.

The results can be explained by several demographic factors, said the Survey Center’s director, Andy Smith.

Like other New England states, New Hampshire has more of an educated population, lower poverty rates and a higher number of jobs that require the use of a computer than other states, he said.

The poll found 87 percent of residents surveyed use the Internet at home and, of those, 50 percent said they use it for an hour or less a day while 37 percent reported using it for two or more hours a day.

Some 49 percent said they use the Internet at work and of those, 27 percent said they use it for an hour or less while 22 percent use it for two or more hours. Another 25 percent reported they had no Internet access at work.

In its last such survey – conducted in 2002 — the Survey Center found that 70 percent of residents polled used the Internet from home, while 44 percent used it from work.

The latest poll was conducted through telephone interviews of 503 randomly selected adults from April 13 to 22. The sampling error was plus/minus 4.4 percent.

According to the poll, the Internet ranked as the third news source for Granite Staters, who are apparently bucking a national trend.

More respondents — 43 percent — reported getting their news from WMUR-TV.

Newspapers ranked second, at 26 percent, while the Internet ranked third, at 13 percent.

“Despite the big changes in the growth of the Internet, most people still get their information in traditional ways,” Smith said.

Smith said the poll did not ask respondents to distinguish whether they used newspapers’ print or online editions.

A national survey by the Pew Center for the People & the Press in December 2008 found for the first time that the number of people who obtain most of their news from the Internet was higher than those who got most of their news through newspapers.