To what extent do online discussion spaces expose participants to political talk and to cross-cutting political views in particular? Drawing on a representative national sample of over 1000 Americans reporting participation in chat rooms or message boards, the authors examine the types of online discussion spaces that create opportunities for cross-cutting political exchanges. The findings suggest that the potential for deliberation occurs primarily in online groups where politics comes up only incidentally, but is not the central purpose of the discussion space. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for the contributions of the Internet to cross-cutting political discourse.
Published in Volume 59, Issue 1, pages 40-56