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More people support than oppose a TikTok ban; frequent users, young adults push back: POLL

Written by on May 7, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — Young adults and frequent users push back against the federal government forcing a sale of TikTok or banning the social media app in the United States, but older adults, infrequent users and nonusers are on board, resulting in a tilt toward support for action, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Overall, 51% in this ABC News/Ipsos poll say the U.S. government should try to force a sale of the popular app; 46% say it should not. And 53% support a ban on TikTok if it’s not sold to a non-Chinese company, with 44% opposed.

A new law signed by President Joe Biden last month would ban TikTok in the United States unless it’s sold to a non-Chinese buyer in nine to 12 months. As the survey question explains, critics say the app can be used by the Chinese government to improperly gather information about its users and to spread misinformation. TikTok denies this.

Click here to see a PDF with full results from the poll.

The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates with fieldwork by Ipsos, finds that 34% of adults use TikTok — 12% often, 10% occasionally and 12% rarely. The comparatively small group of frequent users is most opposed to action: 75% of them say the U.S. should not try to force a sale and 84% oppose a U.S. ban.

Others see it differently. Occasional users are divided on a forced sale, 47-51% support-oppose, while among those who use TikTok rarely or never, 56% support a mandatory sale, the poll finds. When it comes to banning the app if a sale doesn’t happen, two-thirds of occasional users are opposed, but rare users and especially nonusers are for it.

There’s a clear generational split, partly reflecting use patterns. Fifty-five percent of 18- to 29-year-olds use TikTok, including 28% who do so often. Use declines with age to a third of Americans ages 30-64 and 14% of those 65 and older.

It follows that just 39% of adults younger than 30 favor a ban, rising steadily with age to seven in 10 seniors, the poll finds. Young women are especially skeptical: Two-thirds of women younger than 30 oppose a ban, compared with 52% of men in this age group. Differences by sex disappear for people age 50 and older.

The poll also finds ideological and partisan gaps. Democrats, independents and moderates divide evenly on a ban, while Republicans and conservatives are at least twice as likely to support than oppose it. Liberals oppose banning the app by a 13-point margin, 55-42%.

Partisan and ideological divisions also are reflected in vote-preference groups. Among people who support Donald Trump over Biden for president, 61% favor a forced sale of TikTok and 64% support a U.S. ban if a sale doesn’t occur. Biden voters, on both counts, divide essentially evenly.

Methodology

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted online via the probability-based Ipsos KnowledgePanel® from April 25-30, 2024, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 2,260 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 2 percentage points, including the design effect, for the full sample. Sampling error is not the only source of differences in polls.

The survey was produced by Langer Research Associates, with sampling and data collection by Ipsos. See details on ABC News survey methodology here.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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