22 July 2008

Obama and the Middle East

Dow Jones Insight Staff

Also ranking high and moving up in the table of issues is that of Afghanistan, where Obama stopped on his current tour of the Middle East and Europe and toward which he says the U.S. must shift its focus, instead of Iraq.

In the period July 14 – July 21, as Obama geared up for and then began the trip, he was mentioned in reference to Afghanistan 8,299 times, or 61% of all mentions of the two candidates in conjunction with Afghanistan in mainstream and social media sources. That was well above McCain’s 5,355 mentions, or 39%.

He also exceeded McCain in mentions of Iraq and Israel, both also destinations on his tour, as well as Iran. In all tracked sources, Obama was mentioned 2,052 times in relation to Iraq, or 54% of the total, while McCain drew 1,779 mentions, or 46%. McCain kept the totals close by responding to the Obama trip with a steady stream of criticism of Obama’s earlier opposition to the surge of troops in Iraq and his proposal to withdraw combat troops within 16 months.

On the issue of Israel, Obama received 1,427 mentions, or 59%, compared to 990, or 41%, for McCain. Obama was mentioned 1,416 times (54%) in relation to Iran, compared to McCain’s 1,217 (46%).

Methodology: Mainstream press sources include more than 6,000 newspapers, wires, magazines, radio and TV transcripts and more than 13,000 current-awareness news Web sites. Social media sources include 2 million of the most influential blogs and more than 60,000 message boards.

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