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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

So Who Reads Political Blogs?

Just to add a little factual background perspective to the interesting fray on the Netroots and progressives underway at TPM Cafe (featuring TDS’s Scott Winship), we recommend The Audience for Political Blogs” New Research on Blog Readership a study published by Joseph Graf at the web pages of The Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. Among the factoids Graf serves up:

The Regular, daily audience for political blogs is fairly small. We estimate in the millions of readers, not tens of millions.
Nine percent of the survey sample looked at political blogs “almost every day”
Nearly two-thirds, 66 percent, of daily readers of political blogs get most of their national and international news from the internet.
The audience for political blogs is highly concentrated among “dozens of blogs, not thousands.”
One-third of those who read political blogs every day consider themselves “strong liberals.”
The higher traffic political blogs are disproportionately liberal.

Interesting, but no shockers here. The survey had its limitations — respondents in the sample were 7,683 California registered voters who chose to take an online survey, and it didn’t include any insights about developing trends. It would appear that television is still the medium of choice for political information for the time being, given the declining levels of print readership. With the expected merging of television and internet access in millions of homes, it could be a very different picture before too long.
There is mounting evidence that political blogs are finding a more avid audience among opinion leaders and those employed in political work. Henry Copeland reports on recent studies indicating that about 90 percent of “congressional offices” read blogs, and 64 percent of congressional staff readers believe “blogs are more useful than mainstream media for identifying future national political problems and debates.” He notes also that “52% of journalists believe blogs have ‘some to a great deal’ of influence on the way media covers stories.”