22 July 2008

Media in Swing States Favoring McCain?

By Glenn Fannick
Dow Jones Insight Staff

As we’ve stated before, we think counting headline mentions is a good yardstick for measuring what the media considers to be the most important parts of the election story each day. This time around, we looked at headline mentions in mainstream press, broken down along the Red State/Blue State/Swing State divide.

During the period July 14 – July 21, Obama drew the highest share of headline mentions from mainstream press in the Red States, accounting for 66% of all headline mentions of the two candidates (or 3,072 mentions), compared with McCain’s 34% (or 1,552). Obama also led in Blue States, where sources put his name up top only slightly less often, with 64% (or 5,575 mentions) to McCain’s 36% (or 3,109). In the Swing States press, however, while Obama still enjoyed a sizeable lead, it was smaller than in either Red or Blue States. As shown in Chart 3 below, press outlets in Swing States chose to highlight McCain’s name 38% of the time (or 3,070 headline mentions) to Obama’s 62% (5,001 mentions).
Chart: Headline Mentions in Swing States

Methodology: Figures in the chart reflect mentions of the two candidates in headlines in newspapers, Web sites, and television and radio broadcasts originating in the states listed below. Note that not all 50 U.S. states are included in the three groups.

Blue States are defined as those that were carried by the Democrats in all four of the most recent presidential elections: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Red States are defined as those that were carried by the GOP in all four of the most recent presidential elections: Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. Swing states are defined as those that were carried twice by the Democrats and twice by the Republicans in the four most recent presidential elections: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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