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Political blogs and news sites are experiencing explosive growth this fall because of heightened interest in the US elections, and visitors to such sites are more likely to be older, wealthier and male,? according to a study of blog visitation by comScore.

HuffingtonPost.com led a group of selected stand-alone political blogs and news sites, logging 4.5 million visitors in September, up 472% since last year.? Politico.com attracted 2.4 million visitors (up 344%) and DrudgeReport.com saw 2.1 million visitors (up 70%).

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Additional findings:

  • September represented the single biggest month on record for both HuffingtonPost.com and Politico.com since their respective launches.
  • Several sites dedicated to political poll-watching achieved notable gains. RealClearPolitics.com, which tracks composites of polls by state, attracted 1.1 million visitors in September, up 489% versus year ago.
  • Two other polling-oriented sites, Pollster.com with 194,000 visitors and FiveThirtyEight.com with 169,000 visitors, also saw notable traffic in September.
  • The top conservative-leaning blog, FreeRepublic.com, saw marginal declines versus year ago, though it still attracted nearly 1 million visitors in September. Other conservative blogs, such as Newsbusters.org (up 547 percent to 732,000 visitors), WorldNetDaily.com (up 55% to 636,000 visitors) and MichelleMalkin.com (up 140% to 247,000 visitors) saw strong gains.

Political Blog Visitors Skew Older, Wealthier than Average Americans

Demographic profiles for HuffingtonPost.com, Politico.com and DrudgeReport.com show that visitors to these top-three blog sites tend to be older, wealthier, and more likely to be male than the average US Internet user.

comscore-demographic-profile-visitors-top-political-blogs-september-2008.jpg

Of the three sites, Politico.com skewed the oldest with 23% of its visitors age 55+, while DrudgeReport.com skewed wealthiest, with 40% of visitors earning at least $100K/year. It also had the highest concentration of males at 57%. HuffingtonPost.com, the site with the largest audience, was the most similar of the three when compared with the overall US internet audience.

“With each new election cycle, the internet is playing a more significant role in shaping the stories of the day that are so crucial in formulating public opinion on issues and candidates,” said Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at comScore. “That most mainstream news outlets now have their own political blogs is a testament to their increasing reach and influence. However, several independent blogs unaffiliated with larger media outlets paved the way in this space and are really beginning to enter the mainstream public consciousness with this current election cycle.”

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