16 April 2008

Experience is Out, Change is In…

Dow Jones Insight Staff

On April 6, the Clinton campaign announced the demotion of its chief strategist, Mark Penn, over a conflict of interest in his role as private lobbyist for a free-trade deal that Clinton opposes. Prior to his departure, Penn had been the key proponent of the campaign’s strategy to emphasize Clinton’s experience, amid criticism from those who believed that such a focus was sharply at odds with an electorate clamoring for change.

We took a look at Clinton’s coverage in the mainstream media on the issues of “experience” and “change” over the past month to see if there is evidence of a shift in messaging from “during Penn” to “after Penn,” and it looks like there is.

With Penn at the helm from mid-March to early April, “experience” and “change” each had a 36% share of voice of the four tracked issues. But after his demotion, “change” increased to a 41% share, while “experience” dropped sharply to just 20%.

Methodology: “Close proximity” is defined as within about 50 words. Sources include more than 6,000 newspapers, wires, magazines, radio and TV transcripts.

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