BYU Study: Conservatives Are More Likely Than Liberals To Read Opposing View Points
A result the liberal commenters here on Say Anything are probably going to take issue with:
People with stronger party affiliation, conservative political views, and greater interest in politics proved more likely to click on articles with opposing views, according to the Ohio State study.
“It appears that people with these characteristics are more confident in their views and so they’re more inclined to at least take a quick look at the counterarguments,” Knobloch-Westerwick noted. …
The Brigham Young University survey found that journalists also tended to read liberal blogs – perhaps a reflection of journalists’ political beliefs, although even conservatives said liberal blogs were often better-written, Davis pointed out.
Among the political blog readers, a similar trend emerged in which “liberals read almost exclusively liberal blogs, but conservatives tend to read both,” Davis said.
Davis offered another possible explanation for this trend among blog readers. Conservative views dominate talk radio, and so conservatives may feel more satisfied by that outlet and are willing to check out opposing views on blogs.
I think that last point probably hits closest to the mark as to why this is happening. I don’t think the domination of talk radio by conservative-leaning hosts is why so many conservatives in general are comfortable with reading liberal view points. I think the domination of pretty much all other media by the liberal view point is why so many conservatives read it. Conservatives, frankly, don’t have much of a choice. If they pick up a newspaper or turn on their television, they’re statically one heck of a lot more likely to be hit in the face by a liberal view point.
But that status quo is probably helped by the fact that people on the right, generally, tend to think things as opposed to people on the left who tend to feel things. Neither side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on rational thinking, but generally speaking it seems to me (though I’m no unbiased observer) that conservatives tend to be more like analytical adults and liberals tend to be like emotional little children. Most conservatives simply want to be free to go their own way in the world. Most liberals are constantly obsessed about who is making more money than them. Or who might be getting a better job. Or who is going to pay for their health care.
The differences in philosophies between the right and the left plays a role as well.