Monday, October 30, 2006

Growing in influence

Today Kos discusses the growing influence of Internet news sources, including blogs, on the electorate. He cites an ABC News story which tells of more and more people turning to the Web for information:

The number of people who go online for political news is rising, with more than one-third saying they check the Internet for such information.

This group is more likely to be younger, better educated and male than the population in general, an Associated Press-AOL News poll found.

The most popular destinations are the news sites, such as those run by newspapers, networks and newsmagazines, with nine of 10 in the online political audience saying they go there. Just over one-third go to candidate's sites and almost half check out political sites.

The poll found:

Four in 10 men search the Web for political news, compared with three in 10 women.

About four in 10 of those under age 50 search the Web for political news, compared with fewer than two in 10 of those 65 and over.

More than half of those with college degrees look to the Web for politics, compared with one-third of those who have some college, and fewer than one in six with a high school education or less.

A lot of this is consistent with past studies showing that the more politically active are better-educated in general.

Of particular interest to bloggers is data Kos cites showing that of the 38 percent of registered voters that go online for political information, 24 percent of those say that they regularly read political blogs. With Census information counting 142 million registered voters in 2004, this crunches out to some 13,000,000 regular politcal blog readers, not counting the two or three who wander onto this site by accident.

I've been on record as saying that the political blogosphere is just a drop in the bucket, that even mega-bloggers like Kos and Instapundit are still relative small fry in the cyber-universe when compared to phenomena such as e-Bay and MySpace. Numbers like these, however, tend to argue otherwise. The political blogosphere is an ever-growing force, one whose influence is about to be felt on the electoral scene in ways the traditional media has a hard time fathoming. The future is arriving even faster than I thought it would.