Democrats used political blogs more than Republicans in the run-up to the last presidential election, but the Republicans were more aggressive, says a professor at the University of Arkansas.
Robert Wicks examined four politically aligned blogs and six nonaligned blogs, from the day that Joe Biden was announced as the first vice presidential candidate, right up to election day, November 4.
The Democratic Party, he says, used blogs on its candidate and party websites 11.6 times as often as the Republican Party – 1,703 postings in total, compared with just 147 from the Republicans.
By and large, the GOP blogs used text with only a little video, while most Democratic blogs included images, video and slideshowsas well. Unlike the Republican blogs, more than half of the Democratic blog postings included open threads for reader comment and discussion.
“No open threads were coded for the blogs politically aligned with the Republicans, suggesting that the Democrats encouraged more discussion and interactivity on their blogs than did the Republicans,” say the researchers.
But both party leaders, it seems, left the dirty work to their underlings.
On both McCain’s and Obama’s campaign blogs, 45 percent of the postings consisted mainly of praise. The party blogs, on the other hand, were used mainly to attack the opposing candidate. The Republicans were particularly aggressive, with 60 percent of blog posts consisting of an attack, compared with just 34 percent of Democratic Party blog posts.
“Barack Obama and John McCain could take the high road, but the mud was being flung on the party websites,” says Wicks.