By Dow Jones Insight Staff
As the election officially became a two-man race after Hillary Clinton withdrew her candidacy over the weekend, the two nominees continued turning their attention more pointedly toward one another – and the issues they believe will help them win in November. Based on data from the tracked social media in the past eight days, their efforts have resonated clearly on certain issues.
Obama dominated even more than usual on the issue of faith over the past eight days, with 2,423 mentions of his name occurring in close proximity* to faith-related terms, representing some 40% of his total issues-related coverage, compared to McCain’s 953 mentions, or 23% of his issues coverage.
A number of events drove the chatter, including Obama’s announcement that he and his family had cut ties with their Chicago church and his condemnation of a visiting priest’s sermon mocking Clinton, as well as efforts to court the Jewish vote with a speech to a pro-Israel group in which he outlined his proposed strategy for the Middle East, which includes being, as the now pro-Obama Clinton put it, “a good friend to Israel.”
On the issue of fundraising, Obama exceeded McCain in mentions by almost as much as he has in actual funds raised after he announced a ban on lobbyist and PAC donations to the Democratic National Committee, as part of his effort to portray McCain as beholden to special interests due to his ties with lobbyists. Obama received 814 mentions on the topic of fundraising, or about 14% of his overall issues coverage, compared with 399 mentions, or just 10%, for McCain. However, more isn’t always better, as the conviction of a one-time Obama fundraiser for fraud and money-laundering also helped boost his lead on the issue.
McCain held clear leads on the blogs and boards in terms of taxes and the economy, with both driven in part by his efforts to distance himself from the Bush economic policies while the Obama team continues to link them. McCain’s continued support for a gas-tax holiday for the summer also received coverage.
On the economy, McCain was mentioned 815 times on the blogs and boards during the tracked period, or 20% of his total coverage on all issues, compared to 558 mentions, or 9%, for Obama. On the tax issue, McCain saw 553 mentions, or 7% of his total issues coverage, while Obama received 439 mentions, or 7%.
*Close proximity is within about 50 words.
Methodology: Sources analyzed include 2 million of the most influential blogs and more than 6,000 message boards. Issues shown are the 10 most active domestic issues for the two candidates over the analyzed period. Percentages are based on the total number of mentions for those 10 issues.