July 10, 2008
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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.
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To access the paper, visit www.themonkeycage.org/blogpaper.pdf.
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