16 September 2008

And the Winner Is… Palin?

Dow Jones Insight Staff

In the coverage race at least, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin continues to hold the lead, according to analysis of mainstream and social media sources tracked by Dow Jones Insight.

While she had virtually zero coverage in the days prior to her August 29th unveiling as the GOP vice presidential nominee, in the period from August 30 through September 13 she led her own running mate, John McCain, on all but two days – though his coverage totals clearly received a boost from her too – while her coverage exceeded that of Democratic nominee Barack Obama on all days in the period and left vice presidential rival Joe Biden far behind.

Palin ceded the coverage lead to McCain on August 31, the day before the Republican convention was scheduled to begin, while McCain defended the decision to pick Palin, as well as on September 11, the seventh anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

The coverage gap between Palin and the other candidates was at its widest on September 4, the final night of the Republican convention. It has shrunk somewhat since then as coverage of all four candidates eased heading into the weekend, but remained a significant edge.

When considering the two presidential candidates only during the same time period (August 30-September 13), McCain had 179,004 total mentions in all tracked media sources, or a 55% share, to Obama’s 148,000 mentions, or 45% share.

McCain also led in terms of headline mentions in mainstream press, with 21,995 mentions, or 54%, to Obama’s 18,769, or 46%, while in social media sources (blogs and boards) Obama had 33,120 headline mentions to McCain’s 32,900, for a 50-50 split.

Methodology: All charts and figures above reflect mentions of the candidates in both mainstream and social media sources. 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.


Anonymous said...

Do you guys know what you're doing? The amount of coverage?? So what? How does this fair better or worse for candidate X or Y. What matters is tone/valence. And you're calling this important? What's worse is that Yahoo and Drudge pick your stuff up.

Anonymous said...

While tone is important, the raw numbers in terms of coverage can also be extremely telling. Especially if you look at the "white noise" effect of Palin. She has managed to dominate the media mentions and distract from coverage following the actual issues.