Study: Congress reads blogs
Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
I’ve just seen a fantastic study of Congressional readership of blogs that significantly deepens our understanding of blog influence in the US House and Senate.
Conventional wisdom in DC remains entrenched: while blogs can influence Congress, via journalist readers and activist actions resulting from blog posting and advertisements, the influence is only indirect. In fact, the newly public study suggests blogs’ influence is much more direct, with a significant number of Congressional readers looking to blogs rather than conventional media for a glimpse of the future.
In short, “The blogosphere has a much stronger voice being heard by legislators than previously considered.”
Last spring Neil Sroka, a senior at GWU, surveyed all the Congressional offices. Sroka got responses from 90 congressional offices, with a balance of left and right. The paper was just put online today and news of the paper is slowly filtering out. Here’s a link.
* “9 out of 10 Congressional offices read blogs”
* 64% of Congressional staff readers say “blogs are more useful than mainstream media for identifying future national political problems and debates.”
* DailyKos is far and away the most read blog on the Hill, with strong showings also from blogads partners Talkingpointsmemo, Redstate, MyDD, Rawstory, Eschaton, Powerline, and WashingtonNote. (Given the flow of requests we get from DC, I’m very surprised not to see PoliticalWire, Hotair, AmericaBlog and OutsidetheBeltway on that list.)
Bear in mind that Sroka’s survey was done before election ’06, the period that appears to me to be the watershed event for Congressional consciousness of blogs.
Also worth noting that Sroka’s paper also includes a comprehensive survey of past literature on blogs and politics, turning up studies I had not previously encountered. For example, it’s well worth reading this one, titled “How journalists see the blogosphere” which finds that “52% of journalists believe blogs have ‘some to a great deal’ of influence on the way media covers stories.”
Update: Some say bloggers called the shots in the latest Senate vote unhinged by the line-item earmark veto.