Do political blogs change minds?

· The Power of Many

Zogby doesn’t think so (Edgewise: Simon World blogs Zogby’s Hong Kong talk):

  • The impact of the Internet has been huge. In 1996 about 4% of voters got most of their political information from the net. In 2000 it was 31%. For 2004 it will be in excess of 50%.
  • The second key impact has been in fundraising. Firstly Howard Dean, then John Kerry have used the internet to balance out and neutralise the fundraising power of Bush and the Republicans. Ironically Al Gore, the “father” of the net, didn’t capture this avenue in 2000.
  • Blogs: Zogby saw these as important, with each having its own constituency. However they are unlikely to change minds; instead “they serve to stoke the fires of anger.” In other words, blogs are preaching to the converted.

Some try to reach out, though, don’t they? Kevin Drum practically bends over backward to maintain an evenhanded sense of moderation. The whole libertarian strain online represents an area of potential crossover if not realignment. Perhaps when we are not in thick of an unusually conflicted election season we will see something beyond strictly partisan blogging?