The Two Blogospheres: Political Blog Use, Participation, and Sophistication during the 2008 U.S. Election Season


Despite the attention given to political blogs in recent campaigns, scholars have often overlooked something without which they could not thrive: readers. Moreover, literature has considered that readers have generally done so without taking account of significant differences between conservative and liberal blogs. This study uses panel data collected during the 2008 U.S. election to examine how conservative, liberal, and non-blog readers differ. Results show little demographic difference between readers and non-readers. However, blog readers consume political media that is aligned with their blog use. Blog readers participate more in politics than non-readers as a result of their blog use, particularly readers of liberal blogs. Finally, blog readers exhibit greater political sophistication than non-readers, and develop greater political interest as a result of blog reading.