After revisiting some of our data from the political campaign study we conducted earlier this summer, I realized that many candidates have added blogs to their websites since our original research. Here is a list of all of the Senate candidate blogs (the italicized blogs did not appear in our original research).

In our original study, 23% of the candidates had blogs on their websites. After the shrinking of the candidate pool (many candidates dropped out after losing their primaries) and the addition of a few new blogs, this number has increased to 41%. 31% of incumbents now have blogs and 50% of challengers offer blogs on their sites. Further, 34% and 50% of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, are now offering blogs on their sites. In our original study, 20% and 27% of republicans and democrats had blogs. You can view the statistics from the original study here .

My immediate reaction to the increase in the percentage of candidate blogs was to think that politicians were starting to catch on to the idea that blogging is a personal and efficient way to reach out to voters without the filter of mainstream media. But after taking a closer look at these blogs, I realized that these sites were simply publishing more of the same: top-down campaign material aimed at attacking opponents. A few of these blogs stand out from the political norm: Ned Lamont’s blog is particularly robust, and actually resembles a “real” blog. The quality of Lamont’s blog has been largely credited with his defeat of incumbent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut’s primary. Jean Hay Bright’s blog appears to be sincere in content, but it lacks comments, links, and a blogroll. John Spencer’s blog has the opposite problem: it allows comments and offers Web 2.0 features, but the content is nothing more than candidate press releases. Of these new blogs, those of Mark Kennedy, and Joe Lieberman are probably the worst, as they don’t publish comments and lack personal content. The remaining blogs, (Cantwell, Casey, Ensign, McGavick, Menendez, and Stabenow) followed this vein, and while not terrible, are really nothing to speak of.

I find it incredibly disappointing that candidates are still failing to take full advantage of the Web and blogging. The majority of candidates fail to offer blogs, and of the candidates who choose to have a campaign blog, few do it successfully. If candidates are going to offer web journals that are blogs by name only (most lack the features and content usually associated blogs), why even bother? In my opinion, bad and phony blogging looks worse than choosing not to blog. With this in mind, my advice to candidates would be to only pursue a campaign blog if they have the time and good intentions to offer constituents unique and interesting material. A blog full of press releases and opponent attacks is not going to impress anyone.