The Directors of RedState.com, the independent Republican-oriented political group blog, recently offered a formal endorsement of a candidate for the upcoming House Republican leadership race. They have made endorsements of other kinds in the past.
Newspapers, and to a lesser extent magazines and television news programs, have for a long time formally endorsed candidates for office. Bloggers have also been openly pro-Dean or pro-Bush or pro-Clark, etc., but the formal endorsement is another sign of many bloggers professionalizing their style and content.
Incidentally, there is a large but now aging body of research in mass communication studies on the “impact” of newspaper endorsements on voter attitudes and behaviors. Generally, the findings of such research are: (a) newspaper endorsements of candidates can have some influence on some voters; (b) fewer readers actually read newspaper editorials nowadays; (c) newspaper endorsements are more likely to influence campaigns than voters, in that the campaign will use major endorsements in their advertising and especially employ choice quotes in their own favor; and (d) other sources of endorsement, such as personal friends and family, have more influence on how we vote.
See list of studies in DOCUMENTS/Readings section.
The point about the significant impact of personal influence on our voting is intriguing in relation to blogs because, as my students report and I talk about in my book BLOGWARS, an important reason people become loyal readers and even commenters on particular political blogs is that they feel they have a personal affiliation–even affection–for the blog editor. A blog endorsement, then, might be seen by blog readers as more of a personal recommendation by an intimate than a hierarchical suggestion by strangers.
As we academics like to say, more research is needed!
Originally posted January 19, 2006 at PolicyByBlog