28 May 2008

If Blogs Really Lead the Way, We May be in for a Surprise…

By Dow Jones Insight Staff

Over the past month or so, we’ve reported that Hillary Clinton’s mentions in the media have declined in tandem with the likelihood of her nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate. We’ve also seen in our media analysis a tendency for issues to take hold in the blogs and boards before they hit the mainstream media (the Wright controversy, for example). This week we took a look at the relative mentions of the three remaining candidates in both mainstream and social media, and we were quite surprised at what we found on the blogs and boards.

Two weeks ago (May 13-19), Clinton’s coverage on blogs and boards hit a low point as she received just a 25% share, with McCain finally rising to second place with 29% and Obama padding his already comfortable lead to 46%. But in the most recent seven-day period (May 20-26), Clinton jumped back into second place on the blogs and boards with 30%, compared to McCain who stayed level at 29%. At the same time, Obama’s lead shrank to 41% from 46%, so clearly the Clinton mentions came at the expense of Obama’s coverage.

Having dropped their discussion of Clinton to such low levels just a week earlier, social media appears to be ahead of the curve again: some protesting her continued presence in the race, others urging her to fight on, many railing against her remarks about Robert F. Kennedy and weighing the pros and cons of a possible vice presidency.

Methodology: Figures in the chart reflect mentions of the three candidates in postings on 2 million of the most influential blogs and more than 6,000 message boards between March 25 and May 26. Figures in Table 1 reflect the same mentions for the most recent four weeks only.

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