Poll: Most Americans don't read political blogs

NEW YORK Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:45am IST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A majority of Americans do not read political blogs, the online commentaries that have proliferated in the race for the U.S. presidency, according to a poll released on Monday.

Only 22 percent of people responding to the poll said they read blogs regularly, meaning several times a month or more, according to the survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

Political blogs, in which writers, pundits and other participants voice opinions in online forums, burst into the spotlight in the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns. Some of the most high-profile blogs are influential on campaign strategies, media coverage and public perception of the candidates and issues.

Unlike traditional, mainstream media, blogs often adopt a specific point of view. Critics complain they can contain unchecked facts, are poorly edited and use unreliable sources.

Despite the attention blogs can get, the poll said 56 percent of Americans say they never read blogs that discuss politics. Another 23 percent read them several times a year, the survey showed.

While blogs are largely considered the realm of young people who are most Internet-savvy, only 19 percent of people ages 18 to 31, and 17 percent of those ages 32 to 43, regularly read a political blog, the poll said.

The generation most likely to read such blogs are those age 63 or older, 26 percent of whom said they do so. Also, 23 percent of those ages 44 to 62 read them, the poll said.

Roughly an even number -- 22 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats -- regularly read blogs, while 26 percent of independents do the same, the poll showed.

The poll was conducted online from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22 among 2,302 adults. Harris said it does not calculate or provide a margin of error because it finds such figures can be misleading.

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