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.
Cable’s Constant Campaign Coverage Out of Sync With Public News Interest
While much of the public focused on international events, cable news focused on the campaign almost to the exclusion of other top news stories. Also, though well covered, awareness of John Edwards’ endorsement of Obama was relatively low.
Media Know Who It’s “Gonna Be”
In a campaign with more twists than a Twilight Zone episode, the media all but officially pronounced Obama the Democratic nominee last week.
Democratic Campaign Taking a Toll on Both Obama and Clinton
In four separate surveys conducted since March 20, when asked about each of the Democratic candidates, between 25%-31% of the public has said their opinions have recently become less favorable.
Debatable Campaign Coverage
Last week, a major part of the media narrative about the 2008 campaign involved the media themselves — specifically ABC’s moderators for the April 16 debate in Philadelphia.
Less News is Good News for McCain
While McCain has been consistently less visible to the public, far more Americans say the news they have been hearing about him is generally positive than say the same about coverage of Obama or Clinton.
McCain Doesn’t Get Most Exposure, But Can’t Be “Bitter” About Media
Renewed attention to Iraq benefited the GOP candidate, while Democrats seemed caught up in a game of gaffe ping-pong, with the media eagerly keeping score.
Clinton Punches, Obama Bowls, McCain Reminisces
Obama attracted the most coverage, McCain’s bio tour earned him headlines, but Clinton generated the clearest story line with her “Rocky” reference.
Clinton Controversy Heavily Covered but Obama Maintains Visibility Edge
While her Bosnia flap made Clinton the newsmaker of the week, she continues to lag behind Obama in terms of public visibility. Both candidates, despite recent negative news, have seen little change in their favorability.