1in 5 Read Blogs Regularly, Find More Accurate and Valuable than Mainstream Press
A stunning 22 percent of Americans read blogs several times a week, according to a new survey. Reuters reports on a glass 3/4 empty:
A majority of Americans do not read political blogs, the online commentaries that have proliferated in the race for the U.S. presidency, according to a poll released on Monday. Only 22 percent of people responding to the poll said they read blogs regularly, meaning several times a month or more, according to the survey conducted by Harris Interactive.
Despite the attention blogs can get, the poll said 56 percent of Americans say they never read blogs that discuss politics. Another 23 percent read them several times a year, the survey showed.
While blogs are largely considered the realm of young people who are most Internet-savvy, only 19 percent of people ages 18 to 31, and 17 percent of those ages 32 to 43, regularly read a political blog, the poll said. The generation most likely to read such blogs are those age 63 or older, 26 percent of whom said they do so. Also, 23 percent of those ages 44 to 62 read them, the poll said.
So, the cohort that’s generally less interested in politics spends less time reading blogs about politics than the generation most inclined to participate and with the most time on the hands?
And, by the way, a 2004 Pew study found that “just more than half of Americans (54 percent) read a newspaper during the week, somewhat more (62 percent) on Sundays, and the number is continuing to drop.” So, blog readership is only slightly below newspaper readership.
The survey itself breaks down the information quite nicely into tables. Unfortunately, no comparison is made as to how much the sample sample reads newspapers, watches the national television news, or otherwise gathers political information.
This, though, is interesting: “Compared to the mainstream news media, the information I read online journals, web logs or blogs is…?”
So, we have a survey showing that 44 percent of Americans read political blogs occasionally and 23 percent read them several times a year. Among those who do, 78 percent find them as accurate or more accurate than the mainstream press and 82 percent find them as valuable or more valuable than the mainstream press. Yet the story is framed as blogs being inaccurate and less widely read than some might think?
UPDATE: Kevin Drum is skeptical of the survey’s findings, thinking it highly unlikely that 22 percent of the public reads blogs regularly and thinks the number is skewed by being an online poll. Could be.
He also wonders why liberals trust blogs less than conservatives despite liberal blogs dominating the space. My guess is that conservatives trust the mainstream press less than liberals (Kevin’s guess as well) but also that both sides most read their own blogs and conservatives trust theirs more. For one thing, there’s an Obama-Clinton split among the netroots, along with various other tensions. Moreover, conservatives look to blogs as an alternative to “the liberal media” whereas liberals seem to gravitate towards blogs as an organizational force.