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Keywords:

  • integrative complexity;
  • opinion leadership;
  • blogs;
  • LIWC;
  • Linguistic Inquiry Word Count;
  • ideology;
  • political;
  • internet;
  • deliberative democracy

This study examined the association between political ideology and linguistic indicators of integrative complexity and opinion leadership in U.S. political blog posts (N= 519). Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) text analysis, we found that the posts of conservative bloggers were more integratively simple than those of liberal bloggers. Furthermore, in support of a proposed opinion leadership model of integrative complexity, the relationship between ideology and integrative complexity was mediated by psychological distancing (an indicator of a hierarchical communication style). These findings demonstrate an ideological divide in the extent to which the blogosphere reflects deliberative democratic ideals.