Liberals And Blogs

LIBERALS AND BLOGS....Here's a meta-question for you: If I believe that a survey is fundamentally flawed, should I highlight an odd result from it anyway? Let's find out!

Today's survey comes from Harris Interactive and it concludes that 22% of the country reads political blogs regularly (i.e., several times a month or more). I don't believe that. This is despite the surprising number of times that someone will mention out of the blue that a friend reads my blog. Despite the fact that my mother's gardner reads my blog because, it turns out, she's Jerome Armstrong's cousin. Despite the fact that you don't really have to explain to people what a blog is anymore.

Hmmm. Hold on. Maybe I believe this survey after all. But no. I really don't. I mean, 22%? Surely this number has been heavily skewed upward by the fact that this poll was conducted online, right?

But even if the overall numbers are skewed upward, the internals might nonetheless be accurate, and those threw me for a loop. Take a look at the charts on the right. Despite the fact that the blogosphere is generally considered a heavily liberal pond these days, it turns out that Republican and independent blog readers find blogs both more accurate and more valuable than the mainstream media (by pretty good margins, too) while Democratic blog readers find them less accurate and about equally valuable. Overall, Democrats are far more skeptical of blogs than conservatives and centrists.

I'm not sure what this means. Does it show that liberals have good sense? Does it show that the activist liberal base (the "netroots") is actually fairly small, and most liberal blog readers are just your average NPR listeners? Does it merely show that conservatives have hated the mainstream media longer than liberals? (But do independents loathe the MSM too?) Does it show that Rush Limbaugh's blog has a lot of readers?

Or does it show that this Harris Interactive survey is useless to begin with and not worth wasting too much brainpower on? I'm not sure.

Via James Joyner.