Democrat/Liberal vs. Republican/Conservative

6-Month Trend


Bloggers have never been timid about sharing their thoughts on members of the major political parties in the United States. This trend shows the percent of weblog posts that have included the terms “Republican” OR “conservative” (R/C) compared with those that have contained the terms “Democrat” OR “liberal”(D/L).

There is a pretty interesting pattern here. First, both sets of terms clearly follow very similar trends with tall narrow peaks that occur at the same points in time. Posts that contain the terms “Republican” or “conservative” outnumber those that contain “Democrat” or “liberal” at nearly every point over the last six months. According to data from IceRocket, the 3-month mean proportion of daily posts that include the R/C terms is 0.4399% (~2,946 posts per day). For D/L, the 3-month average is 0.3745% of all posts (~2,525 posts per day). These figures represent a difference of 38,282 posts over the last 3 months.

If you take a closer look by decreasing the interval to two months, the regular oscillating pattern is easier to make out:

2-Month Trend

Notice how the peak to trough and trough to peak times are similar and span a relatively short period of time. The pattern suggests that these are messages which are generated around topics that both heat up and cool off fast. Sounds like your typical political blog, right? The mean duration of time from trough to peak is 3.3 days for R/C posts. Back down from the peak to trough is 4.7 days. The figures are nearly identical for D/L posts. The variation from this pattern at the right hand side of the figure occurred around Thanksgiving.

My initial feeling was that the sawtooth pattern was not terribly suprising based upon the subject area, but I was a bit puzzled by how consistent the pattern was. If you look closely at the troughs, they occur over two day periods. Yeah, you probably guessed it. All of the troughs before Thanksgiving on this plot are weekends.

There was a great deal of overlap of terms on both conservative and liberal blogs, both within the same message as well as on separate messages on the blog. Below is a sample over the six month period of the types of posts that were being pulled by these searches.

Sample Posts About Democrats/Liberals and Republicans/Conservatives

Power Line
“The Post’s Peter Baker compensates for Fletcher’s relative objectivity in a companion piece called “An Offering of Detail But No New Substance,” but at least Baker’s piece is presented as “analysis.” The label may be generous, though. Consider the title. What does the author mean by “no new substance?” The headline to Fletcher’s piece states that Bush offered a plan to win the war. Liberals have been carping for several years that Bush has no plan. If so, then the president did offer new substance. In reality, while the president has had a plan for victory, he hasn’t done an effective job spelling it out, nor have liberal organs like the Post been willing to report the plan to the extent that administration officials have articulated it. Indeed, Baker himself makes no effort to inform readers of Bush’s plan.”

SCOTUS:Desperate for Attention – Wonkette
“Democrats finally have a talking point against Samuel Alito handed to them on a platter – he really is against abortion. And conservatives have the fight they’ve been dying for. Still, the hardest part in all of this has been paying attention.”

Horowitz Targets Toddlers – Think Progress
Right-wing activist David Horowitz has been leading an aggressive effort “to limit what teachers may discuss and to bring more conservative views into the classroom.? Now he’s taking his ideological campaign to elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

“The last six months [have] been kind of a watershed for the academic-freedom movement,? says Bradley Shipp, national field director for Students for Academic Freedom, a group founded by conservative activist David Horowitz in 2003. “It is going to filter itself down to the K-12 level.?

It’s an important battle front, proponents say, because younger students are more impressionable.

California’s Two Electorates – The Volokh Conspiracy
“But I do think that this should remind us not to be surprised when Californians consistently elect Democratic House delegations and legislatures, but often elect Republican governors and U.S. senators, and enact more conservative ballot measures. And we should expect the same in other states that have a lot of immigrants (who are more likely to be noncitizens) and a lot of nonwhites (who are more likely to be underage, and more likely not to vote when eligible).”

Replace Lithwick –
“Driving into work this AM, I heard Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick using the term wingnut on NPR in referring to conservatives. So much for journalistic objectivity; there is no longer any real space between Lithwick and the liberal bloggers among whom that derisory term has become so popular. (On which subject, see Beldar’s blast at Lithwick re her coverage of CJOTUS nominee John Roberts.)

Of course, as a journal of opinion rather than news, maybe that’s what Slate wants. If so, however, there are any number of liberal blawggers Slate could hire to replace Lithwick who provide analysis that is usually more objective and always considerably more intelligent than what comes out of Lithwick’s computer. Some who spring to mind are Jeff Cooper, Michael Froomkin, Jeralyn Merritt, Eric Muller, or CE Petit.”

Captain’s Quarters
“It seems like the Bush White House has suddenly acquired a tin ear for politics over the past fortnight. Just weeks after Republican Senators angrily asserted that religion should have nothing to do with the confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, the White House has openly embraced religion as a key qualification for the nomination of Harriet Miers, creating a new controversy for the new nominee”

Murtha Calls for Immediate Redeployment of US Troops from Iraq – AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth
“CNN just carried live a speech by Congressman John Murtha, a conservative Democrat from Pennsylvania, who is calling for immediate redeployment of US troops from Iraq. He is widely viewed as the the top Democratic hawk in the House and his word carries enormous weight on these issues. Murtha said that the Iraq war is a failure and “it’s time for a change of direction.” AP has an article on the Murtha speech now, too.”

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Trends used with permission (



  1. a fair game.

  2. […] The ‘weekend effect’ on Friday’s Republican vs. Democrat duel got me interested in the topics that blog authors discuss on weekends. These figures are all relative to the total number of posts that take place on a given day, so for a drop in messages dealing with political parties, there should be a rise in messages covering other subject matter. One obvious place to look is at the discussion of the term ‘weekend’ itself. […]

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