Prword Smith

The Impact of Blogs on Political Activism


At the event we also released some research on the impact of blogs on political activism. It shows that nearly a quarter of the population in the U.S., UK, and France, read blogs at least once a week (and of that group nearly one-third are moved to undertake some type of political action).

Most notably, what once was viewed as a geographic disparity between the U.S. and Europe regarding the role of blogging in public affairs appears to have dissipated, with France and the UK nearly matching their U.S. counterparts in their reading of blogs and their subsequent call to action as a result.

Other findings:-

• in an average week, just under a quarter of respondents in the UK (23%) and France (22%) and slightly more in the U.S. (27%) read blogs

• of those that read blogs nearly a third in France (26%), UK (27%) and the USA (28%) took some sort of action after reading a blog

• signing a petition was the most common activity undertaken in all four countries (UK 43%, France 37%, USA 36%, Belgium 24%) followed next, again in all three countries, by having attended a public meeting on local issues (UK 23%, France 24%, the USA 26% and Belgium 6%)

• of the four countries surveyed, US respondents were more politically involved and more publicly active in expressing their views than their European counterparts

• US respondents were twice as likely (21%) to have written or called a politician, their third most popular activity, than in the UK (10%), France (8%) and Belgium (6%). They also were more likely than the other three countries to have contacted the media to express an opinion (USA 18% cf. UK 9% France 8% Belgium 5%), to have written an article for a magazine/newspaper (USA 16%, cf. UK 8% France 5% Belgium 3%) and to have worked for a political party (USA 6%, UK & France 2% Belgium 6%)

• People interviewed in France, the USA and Belgium was significantly more likely to have attended a political rally, speech or organized protest (France 12%, USA 10 %,) compared to the UK (6%) and Belgium (6%)

• Overall, there were noted differences in the reading of blogs when looking at sex and gender – with more men reading blogs then women and younger populations (18-24 years old) reading more than their older counterparts. The men who participated in this survey in both the UK and France claimed to be more frequent readers of blogs than the women. In the USA the average was also higher for men, but less so

• On the whole, in the UK, Belgium and France the younger the age the more frequently they read blogs. This was particularly evident in France. In the UK the results were affected by a significant proportion of 25-34 year olds (8%) who claimed to read blogs everyday compared to the total (4%). In the USA the 18-24 year olds were far more frequent readers of blogs than the older groups.

About the study
It was carried out by international research firm, StrategyOne, a subsidiary of Edelman using an omnibus survey in each of four countries: UK, France, Belgium and the USA. The sample comprised of 1002 respondents in the UK, 940 in France, 1000 in the USA and 937 in Belgium. The fieldwork for the UK, France, the USA and Belgium was conducted in September 2006.

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