Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 2, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

THE BLOGOSPHERE....I was on a blogging panel over the weekend, and in response to a remark about how the forthcoming tidal wave of blogdom would soon sweep all before it, I pointed out that one should take the political blogosphere with a grain of salt since it's very unrepresentative of the population at large. The blogosphere may be loud, but it's hard to say for sure if its collective opinion really represents anything larger than itself.

Actually, to be more accurate, I should say that I was going to point that out, but for some reason I didn't. I'm not quite sure why, but I think we all got distracted by Charles Johnson providing a lengthy tutorial about how the mainstream media is too friendly to the Palestinian cause or something.

But why waste a perfectly good point? So here are six ways in which the political blogosphere is very, very different from the real world in which we live:

  1. Less than 10% of political bloggers are women. This compares to about 50% in the real world.

  2. Approximately 20% of blog readers are women. Once again, this compares to about 50% in the real world.

  3. If Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan are typical and I suspect they aren't too far off the mark the blogosphere is incredibly elite. About 90% of blog readers have college degrees and an astonishing 50% have advanced degrees. Among top bloggers, my personal count indicates that the top six have advanced degrees (Instapundit, Marshall, Kos, Atrios, Sullivan, Volokh) and nearly all of the top 30-40 have at least an undergraduate degree.

  4. 11% of blog readers are libertarian. What's more, nearly all major "conservative" blogs are more accurately described as libertarian than truly conservative. This probably has something to do with the blogosphere's roots in the heavily libertarian tech world read Paulina Borsook's Cyberselfish if you're interested in learning more about the history of high-tech libertarianism but in any case it means that true conservatism is heavily underrepresented in the blogosphere.

  5. However, using the blog version of conservative as our guide, conservatives are still heavily overrepresented in the blogosphere despite the hype that liberal blogs have received lately. It's true that there are four liberal blogs among the top ten (Atrios, Kos, Marshall, and PA), but if you take a look at the next 20 it's about 80% conservative.

  6. And now for the truly shocking news: California dominates the top of the political blogosphere. Among the top dozen bloggers, half are Californians (Kos, Volokh, LGF, Kaus, Den Beste, and PA). And of those, five are from Southern California.

I have no special analysis of all this information, and further interesting data points about the blogosphere are hereby solicited in comments. Have at it.

NOTE: "PA" = Political Animal. You know, the blog you're reading right now.

Kevin Drum 9:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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