Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forNovember 1st, 2004 | back to home

1 November 2004

It seems – contrary to suggestions made earlier by Cass Sunstein in Republic.com and “essays”:http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR26.3/sunstein.html (and by many others) – people using the Internet don’t tend to just get more political information that agrees with their previously-held beliefs – they are better informed about both sides than their offline counterparts – at least according to the latest report based on a large scale survey from the excellent “Pew Internet & American Life Project”:http://www.pewinternet.org/.

Before you say ‘well that is just because Internet users are on average better educated or of higher social status’ (as I admit I was tempted to do) they found:

Simply being an internet user, controlling for demographic factors such as gender and education, as well as the other factors already discussed, increases the likelihood that a person has heard more arguments about a candidate.

This seems quite persuasive to me but I doubt this argument will go away in a hurry!