Blog Readers Unmasked

By Zachary A. Goldfarb and Chris Cillizza
Monday, May 1, 2006

Think the people who while away their hours reading and commenting on political blogs are slovenly twenty-somethings with nothing better to do?

Think again, said a survey last week by Blogads, a company that many leading political blogs have used for ad placements.

In an unscientific Web survey of 36,000 people, Blogads reported that political blog readers tend to be age 41 to 50, male (72 percent), and earn $60,000 to $90,000 per year. Two in five have college degrees, while just a tad less have graduate degrees.

"These are not people who are politically idealistic and born yesterday," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who runs the popular liberal site DailyKos.

"I think people want to dismiss blog readers as unemployed people in their basement. Apparently not," said Glenn Reynolds of the conservative blog InstaPundit.

Several major conservative blogs didn't take part in the survey, which was posted on 110 sites, and so the numbers were weighted in favor of Democrats.

Blogads President Henry Copeland said the findings represent "the choir" of political blog readers, the most interested and most engaged, "the political geeks who are arguing over the nuances at a press conference or the latest Hillary Clinton pronounciations."

He said Republican blog readers tend to be older, more often male, have higher incomes and less education than Democratic readers -- but only by small degrees.

The survey noted that political blog readers tend to read blogs for 10 hours per week, often for "news I can't find elsewhere."

"These are people who are presumably overworked and overstressed like the rest of us, only they find 10 hours a week to look at blogs. It's a mark of their alienation" from other forms of media, said Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet.

Dean's Broad Brush

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's much-debated "50 state strategy" made its national debut on Saturday with more than 1,000 voter-canvassing events across the country, designed to spread the party's message through neighbor-to-neighbor contact.

The goal of the canvassing campaign was to hang 1 million door-knocker signs outlining the six main principles of the Democratic agenda heading into the 2006 midterm elections -- among them "real security," "energy independence" and "honest leadership and open government." House Republicans released a point-by-point answer to the Democrats' plan Friday, a "prebuttal" of Dean's campaign.

Nonetheless, DNC officials claimed at least one event in every state, and in many states dozens of events were scheduled. Ohio, the key battleground of the 2004 election, led the pack with 78 events; even in Republican-leaning Montana, 30 events were planned. Dean's 50-state strategy is aimed at making the party competitive nationwide. Predecessors focused far more resources on the much smaller set of states where Democrats run competitively in presidential elections -- a narrow vision that Dean believes neglected the party's long-term interests.

"In the 2004 elections [Democrats] raised record amounts of money and had record turnout, but the ability to have this kind of infrastructure was something we were lacking," said DNC communications director Karen Finney.

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