Chalk this post up to catch up from last week’s downtime.Â
Without getting into a lot of details, I had a discussion last week with another liberal family member who expressed intimidation at debating a more conservative family member on politics.Â It was a case of not being as sure of his facts (which have a proven liberal bias) and the parroting of right wing talking points.Â I gave him my copy of Ariana Huffington’s new book and a couple of sites to check out.Â I am always amazed by how many people no precious little about political blogs.Â
And on cue, the LA Times produced this story on political blogs and those who read them. Details, after the jump.
Some excerpts from the article which reports on a landmark 2006 study:
Compared with those who don’t read political blogs, they are more likely to have a college degree and, obviously, are more interested in politics. They are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans, rather than as independents, and are more likely to call themselves liberals or conservatives rather than moderates. Political blog readers are more likely to vote, give money to candidates or simply talk about politics. They live and breathe politics.
They also tend to visit blogs that share their viewpoint. Think of such blogs as their red meat. Indeed, 94% read only blogs on one side of the ideological spectrum, with 90% of liberals and 90% of conservatives sticking to like-minded blogs. Self-proclaimed “moderates” don’t blog shop either, with 89% exclusively reading either liberal or conservative blogs.
The study offers little information on political blogs that straddle the fence, suggesting they don’t offer what readers of political blogs want.
Blogs might affect the presidential campaign in another way: by encouraging their readers to participate in politics.
We don’t mean to vote, because blog readers are already habitual voters and need no extra encouragement from blogs to go to the polls. Instead, blogs may prod their readers to engage in other kinds of political activity, such as giving more to candidates or registering and mobilizing new voters. Because fewer people habitually donate to politicians or mobilize others to vote, blogs have more potential to change these habits. Indeed, some blogs put mobilization over persuasion.
So, when we venture over to Red County, we pretty much know we’re not going to change any minds. And when Matt Cunningham wanders over here, he’s not changing any minds either.Â But its important to use political blogs to call out new information or remind readers of older positions taken by candidates.Â These efforts push the debate forward and, at times, the mainstream media does respond to this new information.