Partisan blogs and politics: influence and actual reflection of populace?

So I’ve been thinking about partisan blogs. I already know that they are, to a certain extent, an echo chamber for those who already believe in the views of the admins/writers/majority of readers. (In fact, I’ve found myself concerned about such, as has many writers.)

So I look at something like the Daily Kos, which is relatively united in being outraged that Obama compromising too much with Republicans, and think that if he just did what they think he should do, everything would be so much better. (Not necessarily reflecting all left wing blogs, of course.)

Then I look at RedState, which is pretty united itself in doing everything it can in opposing the President’s agenda, and pretty much everything else he believes in, thinking that if only everything were done the way they think it should be done, everything would be so much better. (Not necessarily reflecting all right wing blogs, of course.)

Here’s what I wonder: does the “echo chamber” nature of blogs overstate the unity of thought amongst liberals, conservatives, or whatever group you care to name? Does the Daily Kos reflect enough of general national liberal/progressive thought that Obama might actually be in danger of being primaried, or see his voters stay home in massive droves? Does RedState reflect enough of general national conservative thought that if they think that X should be done, that Republicans/conservatives in general also think X should be done?

I’m not asking so much about wielding power (since none but the most prominent actually do so, probably), but how much any blog of a certain level of readership actually reflects a significant enough portion of national voters to actually be an accurate barometer of what’s going being thought of on their side of the political spectrum.

(I hope I’m making sense here. :))

I doubt it.

Let’s take Rush Limbaugh, for example. Yes, he’s radio, but it’s still roughly analogous. The people that listen to him religiously already agree with him. He doesn’t change minds, the listeners are already decided, otherwise they wouldn’t be listening religiously. As you say, it’s an echo chamber.

The same goes with blogs. The Kos bloggers and the Freepers are there precisely because they’re looking for things that they agree with. But that’s the idea. A middle-of-the-road blogger such that he/she doesn’t take a strong position but weighs each on its merits won’t find any regular readership for that very reason.

Also, the prevalence of “extremists” is vastly overrated, mostly due to their visibility, which comes from the fact that they are that rare. If they were such a common demographic they wouldn’t be notable, they wouldn’t have anything about them worth mentioning because it would become mainstream by definition.

The real influence comes from actual news sources because they are typically believed to be unbiased and thoroughly researched, therefore if it is “newsworthy” it’s worth listening to/reading about. Some pundit bloviating doesn’t measure up except to the true believers, and again, they’ll believe anything because they are predisposed to it.