Denver and Palin Fuel Biggest Campaign Week Yet
Campaign coverage filled 69% of the overall newshole last week, by far the most media attention the 2008 election has received since PEJ began tracking it in January 2007. The Democratic convention dominated news early, but McCain’s unexpected VP pick abruptly changed the subject. In just two days of tracking, Sarah Palin became the third biggest campaign story of the week.
It’s All Veepstakes All the Time
In a week that culminated with Senator Joe Biden’s selection as Barack Obama’s running mate, the veepstakes dominated the campaign narrative, shunting other storylines — particularly policy differences — to the sidelines.
Comeback Kids: Clintons Return to Campaign Coverage
Last week’s major story lines turned more to discord among Democrats, energy policy and the search for vice presidents.
Likely Rise In Voter Turnout Bodes Well For Democrats
Even with a partisan enthusiasm gap, voter interest is already as high as in November of recent elections, two trends that may significantly alter the composition of the eventual electorate in the Democrats’ favor. The proportion of swing voters is also up compared with four years ago. Nearly half of independents (47%) are undecided or may change their minds, up from 28% in June 2004.
McCain’s Interest Gap
While Obama and McCain received similar levels of media coverage, Obama remained by far the most visible candidate. Only 11% of Americans cited McCain as the candidate they had heard the most about, while more than seven-in-ten (71%) named Obama.
Coverage Turns To Issues
In a relatively light week of campaign coverage, attention focused on policy differences. Still, a fair amount of attention was also paid to some controversies and gaffes.
Politics Goes Viral Online
Already in this campaign season, more Americans — 46% — have gone online to get political news and campaign information than in all of 2004.
Many Say Coverage is Biased in Favor of Obama
More of the public heard about controversies related to Obama than other campaign events. Even so, far more Americans believe press coverage has favored him than think it has favored Clinton.
Character and the Primaries of 2008
A new analysis of media coverage during the first ten weeks of the 2008 primary season finds the dominant personal narratives about Obama and Clinton were almost identical in tone, and were both twice as positive as negative. The coverage of McCain’s character was less positive than that of either Democratic candidate.
Mac’s Back in Media Spotlight
After largely being treated as a bystander to the Democrats’ contest, the GOP nominee emerged as a featured player in campaign coverage. But that exposure is not always wanted or positive attention.