As the UK general election battle begins to heat up, US research published today suggests that bloggers could have a pivotal role in the forthcoming result.
The study by Harris Interactive warned that UK political parties ignore at their peril the relatively new phenomenon of political blogs, which burst onto the scene during the 2004 US presidential election.
According to the online survey of 2,630 American surfers in March, over two-fifths (44 per cent) of respondents have read a political blog. More than a quarter (27 per cent) indicated that they read them once a month or more.
Despite the relatively high proportion of respondents reading political blogs, just seven per cent of adults who are online have ever posted a comment on a blog site. Even among those who read political blogs, only 15 per cent have posted a comment.
The poll found that online adults with a university or postgraduate degree (52 per cent) are significantly more likely to have read a political blog.
According to the research group there is a gender gap in reading political blogs, with men more likely than women to read them (48 per cent of males compared to 40 per cent of females).
While political liberals (52 per cent) are more likely to read political blogs than their conservative (48 per cent) or moderate (46 per cent) counterparts, there is almost no difference in the percentage of Republicans, Democrats, or Independents who log on to these online journals.
Among online adults who have read a political blog, more than half (53 per cent) say they spend less than 15 minutes in a typical reading session.
The Harris Poll was conducted among a nationwide cross section of 2,630 adults aged 18 and over, of whom 1,193 have read political blogs and 224 have posted on a blog.
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