Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The last week

In the week from Oct. 27-Nov. 2, the top storyline in the media, was coverage of the contest for crucial battleground states, filling 16% of the campaign newshole studied, according to the Campaign Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The battle over swing states was also No.1 the previous week, but at a smaller 10% of the coverage.

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, the major story in the last week of the election campaign was coverage of the horse race, mainly which presidential candidate was going to take the majority of the electoral votes. This accounted for 16% of the coverage. Other strategic narratives, like head-to-head polls (at 5%), candidate attacks (4%), ads, including Obama’s 30-minute “infomercial,” (3%) and electoral vote arithmetic (3%), brought attention to the horse race to about one-third of the week’s campaign coverage. The overarching narrative was that "Obama was the clear, and possibly even overwhelming, favorite to win."

Another story was widely interpreted as a sign of political problems for the GOP ticket. Criticism of and dissension within the McCain campaign, including stories that featured an anonymous McCain advisor calling Sarah Palin a “diva,” accounted for another 2% of the campaign newshole. This obviously showed McCain's lack of leadership. He couldn't keep his campaign together and on message.

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