04 September 2008

McCain Regains Lead on Foreign-Policy Issues as Candidates’ Issues Coverage Rebounds

By Dow Jones Insight Staff

Media coverage of the issues being tracked by Dow Jones Insight surged in the latest rolling one-month period as a result of the two parties’ nominating conventions and vice presidential picks, but the increase seems to have helped McCain more, as he regained the lead on several foreign-policy issues that Obama had won with his trip to the Middle East and Europe earlier this summer, and drew closer on several other issues.
For the period August 1 – September 1, the 25 tracked issues were discussed a total of 934,408 times, up 29% from 724,799 in the previous rolling one-month span.
McCain took leading shares on Iraq (55%), Afghanistan (53%) and Iran (56%), which were led by Obama in our previous analysis, as well as on North Korea (55%), which had formerly been too close to call. He gained ground in terms of coverage on the economy, abortion, terrorism, education, immigration and the housing slump, all of which had been led by Obama in our last analysis and are now too close to call. The only issue on which McCain lost ground to Obama is same-sex marriage, which is now a statistical tie.
A few issues saw significant movement in the latest period. Abortion moved up from 17 to 6, reflecting several developments, including discussion of the topic by both candidates at a forum in August, controversy over Obama’s voting history in Illinois, statements of support in the Democratic party platform and in Obama’s acceptance speech at the convention, and discussions of Palin’s stance on abortion. Health care also rose significantly, to 8th place from 15th in our last analysis, helped largely by several Democratic convention speeches.

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