The Score: Profile of a "Netroot"

During the weekend of June 8 to 11, 2006, progressive political activists around the country descended on Las Vegas for the first annual "YearlyKos" convention. The brainchild of highly trafficked political blog DailyKos.com, YearlyKos drew several hundred "netroots" (internet political activists) from behind the veil of their online anonymity, into an in-person gathering to discuss the future of progressive politics and the issues of the day.

In many ways, the netroots are changing the face of democracy. During the 2004 campaign season, their ability to fundraise at the grassroots level for Howard Dean's presidential campaign served notice that the internet possessed a unique ability to influence the political process. With November elections looming, the mainstream press is now paying more attention to netroots. Several heavy-hitters in the Democratic Party ingratiated themselves to the netroots community by speaking at the event, including Dean, former Governor Mark Warner (D - VA), and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D - NV).

DailyKos founder, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, garnered substantial media attention at the event, reportedly spending much of his airtime dispelling misconceptions about political bloggers. On NBC's "Meet the Press" Zuniga remarked about a "perception of bloggers as being these anti-social people, typing away at keyboards in their parents' basement. And I think what we've seen is that actually the people who read these blogs are a real cross section of the Democratic Party, a real cross section of America." While visitors to DailyKos.com do not represent the entire netroots community, the following profile provides insight into this segment of the activist community:

  • Category visitation habits among DailyKos.com visitors reveals that these internet users are perhaps more philosophical (Politics, Religion), financially savvy (Online Trading, Finance -- News/Research) and more engaged in online entertainment (Humor, Entertainment -- News, and Retail -- Music) than the average internet user.

  • DailyKos.com readers also appear to be internet news junkies, exhibiting very high tendencies to visit news sites. When looking at sites that they are more likely to frequent versus the norm, news-related sites account for eight of the top 10 such sites. For example, DailyKos.com visitors index high for visitation to the Independent News & Media (Index = 3,914) and Salon.com (Index = 3,872).

  • The Demographic snapshot of DailyKos.com readers reveals that while all adult age groups are represented, there is a very large skew toward adults 65 and older. In fact, this age group is nearly four times as likely as the norm to visit the site.

  • DailyKos.com visitors also skew toward higher income levels, with those households making at least $75,000 being 56 percent more likely to visit the site. Zuniga has noted that income is likely one area in which netroots might differ from a representative cross-section of the Democratic Party.

  • Regional skews correspond heavily to the coastal "blue state" regions. Visitors are 82 percent more likely than average to come from the Pacific region, 36 percent more likely to come from New England, and 19 percent more likely to hail from the Mid-Atlantic region.

Top Categories Among Visitors to DailyKos.com
Ranked by Composition Index
May 2006
Total U.S. - Home, Work, and University Locations
DailyKos.com Visitors Composition Index
Politics 1,111
Retail - Food 384
Humor 373
Religion 325
Entertainment - News 319
Online Trading 273
Blogs 272
Finance - News/Research 257
Career Resources 256
Retail - Music 253
Source: comScore Media Metrix


Top Sites Among Visitors to DailyKos.com
(Based on Top 1000 Internet Properties)
Ranked by Composition Index
May 2006
Total U.S. - Home, Work, and University Locations
DailyKos.com Visitors Composition Index
Independent News & Media 3,914
SALON.COM 3,872
News International 3,497
BLOOMBERG.COM* 3,287
Guardian Media Group 2,275
The Maxim Network 1,905
NYDAILYNEWS.COM 1,839
NewsMax.com Sites 1,821
SignonSanDiego Sites 1,743
GIFTS.COM 1,690
Source: comScore Media Metrix


Demographic Profile of Visitors to DailyKos.com
Percent Composition of Unique Visitors & Composition Index
May 2006
Total U.S. - Home, Work, and University Locations
  % Composition of Unique Visitors Composition Index
Persons - Age    
Persons: 18-34 20.7 79
Persons: 35-44 17.5 95
Persons: 45-54 27.7 137
Persons: 55-64 12.2 104
Persons: 65+ 21.9 375
     
Household Income    
Under $25K 2.8 30
$25,000 - 39,999 9.4 87
$40,000 - 59,999 20.4 76
$60,000 - 74,999 7.9 54
$75K+ 59.4 156
     
Region (US)    
West North Central 3.4 38
Mountain 4.0 58
Pacific 28.5 182
New England 7.8 136
Mid Atlantic 16.9 119
South Atlantic 13.1 77
East South Central 3.5 67
West South Central 6.6 66
East North Central 16.1 99
Source: comScore Media Metrix

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