- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Liberal activist Web loggers have made major advances on the Internet, but they remain far behind their conservative adversaries among the top 250 political blogs, according to a study by a Democratic think tank.

In a detailed report on the political power being wielded by bloggers, who have become a potent force in national and state campaigns, the study found that while liberals have “a decided advantage” over conservatives among the top 40 blogs (24-16), “conservatives hold a whopping 133 to 77 advantage” among the next 210 blogs.

The study said this was “a serious problem that progressives must confront,” if they are going to overcome the conservatives’ advantage at the local level.

“An edge among small, local political blogs also means an edge in small, local, political races. While progressives may have a marked advantage in overall blogosphere discourse, it could also be argued that conservatives are taking a decisive lead in the sort of targeted blogging that will provide them with real, tangible benefits …,” the report says.

If liberal activists “do not invest time, energy and resources building a local blog infrastructure superior to that currently possessed by conservatives, the comparative advantage of progressives’ overall traffic lead will be significantly reduced.”

The study, “Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere: A New Force in American Politics,” was conducted by two Democratic bloggers for the New Politics Institute, a political think tank.

Among its chief findings is the explosive nature of the Internet’s blogs, which have become the fastest-growing sector of the information industry.

“Since March of 2005, the total number of blogs has grown from 7.8 million to 14.2 million,” the study says.

But it has been the political bloggers, particularly among conservatives, who have emerged as an effective organizing and fundraising force.

In the 2003 pre-election cycle, “Conservative bloggers vastly outpaced progressives in terms of total [readership] traffic. The top ranked blog, an influential conservative site known as Instapundit (www.instapundit.com), had as much traffic as the next five sites combined,” the study says.

Since then, “the political dynamics of the Internet have reversed themselves,” the study maintains. “In less than two years, the progressive blogosphere had grown from less than as big as the conservative blogosphere, to nearly double its size.”

For example, the study said that while the conservative blog Instapundit was three times larger than any other blog two years ago, the largest liberal blog, Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com), is getting “more than four times as many monthly visits.”

Even so, the study’s authors said blogs on both sides are expanding. In the past two years, the number of hits or visits at the top 1,000 political blogs, conservative and liberal, has risen from 500,000 per day to more than 3 million.

According to a recent study by MyDD.com, a liberal political blog, 54.6 percent of conservative traffic and 69 percent of progressive traffic “went to the top 10 blogs representing their respective ideologies,” the study says.

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