Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

The Media, Religion and the 2012 Campaign for President

Differences between Newspapers and Radio, TV and Websites

While just 1% of all the election coverage studied was squarely about religion, in the 2012 campaign PEJ also analyzed the number of stories that mentioned religion, even in passing. By that measure, 6% of campaign stories in 2012 contained at least some reference to religion. (Because this was a new measure, no comparable figure is available for 2008.)

Overall, most sectors of the mainstream media – broadcast television, cable television, radio and major news websites – all mentioned religion in about the same proportion of 2012 campaign stories (5% to 8%). The one exception was newspaper front pages, where the percentage was at least twice as high: Fully 16% of front-page newspaper stories about the campaign contained at least a passing reference to religion.


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