Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 3, 2009

Pew Research: Civic Engagement Online

The Pew Research Center reports that people involved in online political activities tend to be similar those involved in traditional activities. See excerpt:

PewResearchCenter Publications
Pew Internet & American Life Project

Civic Engagement Online: Politics as Usual

by Aaron Smith, Research Specialist, Pew Internet & American Life Project
September 1, 2009

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.

(See complete report at original site)