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July 10, 2008

MEDIA CONTACTS: Menachem Wecker
(202) 994-8025; mwecker@gwu.edu     
Nick Massella
(202) 994-3087; massella@gwu.edu

LEFT-LEANING BLOG READERS MORE LIKELY TO BE POLITICALLY ACTIVE ACCORDING TO FIRST-EVER STUDY BY GW PROFESSORS

WASHINGTON - Once dismissed as online diaries paraded for mass consumption, blogs are now being credited with revolutionizing American politics.  However, there has been little scholarly attention to who reads the more than 112 million blogs worldwide, the politics of these readers, and how much they participate in American politics.

Henry Farrell, GW assistant professor of political science and international affairs; Eric Lawrence, GW assistant professor of political science; and John Sides, GW assistant professor of political science, examine these questions in their paper "Self-Segregation or Deliberation? Blog Readership, Participation, and Polarization in American Politics."  The paper was published July 1, 2008, on TheMonkeyCage.org, a blog dedicated to political science research.

The paper identifies two key findings.  First, blog readers are highly polarized, which shows that the Internet is changing the relationship between media and politics and welcoming people with strong partisan opinions and less emphasis on moderation.  Second, blog readers are more prone to engage in politics, and left-leaning blog readers are likeliest of all to be politically active, which exposes partisan differences in the ways Republicans and Democrats are taking to Internet-based politics.  This may have significant consequences for the current election.
 
Both Farrell and Sides write for The Monkey Cage blog, and Farrell also contributes to Crooked Timber, which recently was rated the 33rd most powerful blog in the world by The Guardian. Lawrence specializes in American political institutions and research methodology.

The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs is one of the world's leading schools of international affairs.  Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., its mission is to educate the next generation of international leaders, conduct research that advances understanding of important global issues, and engage the policy community in the United States and around the world.

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the largest of the university's schools, provides education and training leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The Columbian College's instruction is provided by internationally recognized faculty, drawing upon the resources and diversity of Washington, D.C. Students are offered opportunities to pursue their intellectual development and research training in programs ranging from the traditional disciplines through a wide variety of interdisciplinary and applied fields.

To access the paper, visit www.themonkeycage.org/blogpaper.pdf.

For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at www.gwnewscenter.org.

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