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Pew: Online Politics Only For The Rich

From the tireless leftwing amen chorus at Pew:

The Internet and Civic Engagement

by Aaron Smith, Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, Henry Brady

Sep 1, 2009

Overview

Political and civic involvement have long been dominated by those with high levels of income and education, leading some advocates to hope that internet-based engagement might alter this pattern. However, a new report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that the internet is not changing the fundamental socio-economic character of civic engagement in America. When it comes to online activities such as contributing money, contacting a government official or signing an online petition, the wealthy and well-educated continue to lead the way.

Still, there are hints that the new forms of civic engagement anchored in blogs and social networking sites could alter long-standing patterns. Some 19% of internet users have posted material online about political or social issues or used a social networking site for some form of civic or political engagement. And this group of activists is disproportionately young.

Summary of Findings

Whether they take place on the internet or off, traditional political activities remain the domain of those with high levels of income and education.

Contrary to the hopes of some advocates, the internet is not changing the socio-economic character of civic engagement in America. Just as in offline civic life, the well-to-do and well-educated are more likely than those less well off to participate in online political activities such as emailing a government official, signing an online petition or making a political contribution.

In part, these disparities result from differences in internet access—those who are lower on the socio-economic ladder are less likely to go online or to have broadband access at home, making it impossible for them to engage in online political activity. Yet even within the online population there is a strong positive relationship between socio-economic status and most of the measures of internet-based political engagement we reviewed.

At the same time, because younger Americans are more likely than their elders to be internet users, the participation gap between relatively unengaged young and much more engaged middle-aged adults that ordinarily typifies offline political activity is less pronounced when it comes to political participation online. Nevertheless, within any age group, there is still a strong correlation between socio-economic status and online political and civic engagement.

There are hints that forms of civic engagement anchored in blogs and social networking sites could alter long-standing patterns that are based on socio-economic status.

In our August 2008 survey we found that 33% of internet users had a profile on a social networking site and that 31% of these social network members had engaged in activities with a civic or political focus—for example, joining a political group, or signing up as a “friend” of a candidate—on a social networking site. That works out to 10% of all internet users who have used a social networking site for some sort of political or civic engagement.  In addition, 15% of internet users have gone online to add to the political discussion by posting comments on a website or blog about a political or social issue, posting pictures or video content online related to a political or social issue, or using their blog to explore political or social issues.

Taken together, just under one in five internet users (19%) have posted material about political or social issues or a used a social networking site for some form of civic or political engagement.  This works out to 14% of all adults — whether or not they are internet users. A deeper analysis of this online participatory class suggests that it is not inevitable that those with high levels of income and education are the most active in civic and political affairs.  In contrast to traditional acts of political participation—whether undertaken online or offline—forms of engagement that use blogs or online social network sites are not characterized by such a strong association with socio-economic stratification…

This ‘finding’ means only one thing.

We must tax the evil rich users of the internet so that we can fund more leftwing grassroots projects.

Mr. Soros’ billions are not enough.

We must have social justice.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Pew: Online Politics Only For The Rich”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    I long for the days when you had to be a land owner to vote. (kidding folks)
    Leftwing grass roots? Fake grass roots? Astroturf plastic grass roots?
    Nothing grows where the Leftwing goes!

  2. TwilightZoned says:

    Ya…the same lower socio-economic people I see walking around with the most expensive athletic shoes, designer clothing, a cell phone, and mp3 player or ipod. But they qualify for free or reduced (50 cents) school breakfast & lunch.

    I believe Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Whatever will the members of the lower socio-economic level do when they have caused us all to be on the same ladder?!

  3. P. Aaron says:

    I live in a decent neighborhood with some big houses. I did not graduate from any major university, I am a Residential Realtor…need I say anymore at this time?

    I am not rich. But unlike my congressional representatives; I DO read.


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