19 August 2008

Obama Takes Command of Five More Issues

Dow Jones Insight Staff

In our previous analysis, we found that Obama was in the lead in media coverage on 10 of the 25 key election issues being tracked in mainstream and social media by Dow Jones Insight, a rather impressive performance. But in the latest period, from July 17 to August 17, he demonstrated a clear lead on 15 of the 25 issues, wresting one away from McCain and breaking formerly statistical ties in four others.

The five new issues on which Obama is now clearly ahead of McCain include the economy, health care, abortion, the housing slump and Nafta. The housing slump issue was formerly led by McCain, while the other four issues had been too close to call, defined as those that differ by six or fewer percentage points. While Obama’s lead in media coverage in general (see the next post for more detail) would certainly explain his lead on many issues, it is still surprising that his advantage on issues is almost across-the-board.

But perhaps it isn’t as bad as it seems for McCain. While he holds clear leads on only three issues, and all three of those are among the six least-covered issues, he is tied with Obama (i.e., too close to call) on six of the 14 most-covered issues. Among them are key domestic issues like energy, taxes, fuel prices and the environment. Given that he has lagged Obama in total media mentions since we began tracking election-related media coverage, it is a pretty fair achievement that he’s maintaining parity on so many issues.

Of the remaining eight of the top 14 most covered issues, Obama’s tour of the Middle East and Europe in late July helped him take the lead on three – Afghanistan, Israel and Iran. But now that several weeks have passed since that trip, all three of those issues have fallen in the rankings compared to our previous report, and they could be up for grabs once that time period falls outside our analysis.

Methodology: This analysis looks at 25 selected issues that occurred within 50 words of at least one of the candidates’ names during the period of July 17 to August 17, 2008. To demonstrate change in “ownership” of issues, these data were compared with the period of July 6 to August 6. We opted to take a 30-day snapshot approximately every two weeks to flatten out any spikes in data that could be attributed to a single-day anomaly in the data. The data come from approximately 19,000 English-language mainstream media print and Web sources, more than 50,000 English-language message boards and 2 million blogs.

No comments: