[Clickworthy] Horseraces and tail wagging: How do you like your election coverage?

The Fourth Estate improved in its role as informer and vetter in the 2012 Republican primary, but it continued to bog itself down in political minutia and reflection of public sentiment, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The study found that 64% of primary coverage was devoted to what the researchers deemed “strategy,” a term inclusive of public opinion polls, momentum, advertising, and fundraising – the so-called “horserace” aspect of an election. The remaining coverage was split among the candidates’ personal background (12%), position on domestic issues (9%), existing public record (6%), position on foreign issues (1%), and other uncategorized topics (6%).

It may seem a disservice that so little of the newshole was devoted to informing the electorate about the candidates, but the PEJ was quick to point out what an improvement it was over 2008. The 28% of “vetting” coverage was roughly double the amount candidates received in the 2008 Republican (11%) and Democratic (15%) primaries.

The variations of these primaries is worth considering. The 2008 Republican primary was much different than 2012. John McCain cemented his nomination on Super Tuesday, though one could argue it came even sooner than that. Every legitimate candidate but one (Mike Huckabee) had dropped out by early February. Meanwhile, the 2008 Democratic primary carried on even longer than this year’s GOP battle – a two-person contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that led most of us to learn for the first time what “superdelegates” were. The validity of coverage comparisons between the two primary years might indeed be acceptable then, considering the 2012 Republican primary would fit snugly between the two extremes of 2008.

The Pew study argued that while the 2012 battle may have lasted until mid-April, media coverage established the endpoint on February 29 – a day, ironically enough, that only occurs in an American presidential election year. Or, more relevantly, the day after Mitt Romney won Arizona and his native state of Michigan – a must-win for his blue-collar challenger, Rick Santorum.

Continue reading “[Clickworthy] Horseraces and tail wagging: How do you like your election coverage?”

Gingrich, Romney, Santorum visit Mississippi, vie for hotly contested Southern delegates

Mississippi rarely receives much attention from candidates in presidential elections. After all, there’s usually little doubt as to the inclinations of the most conservative state in the union. Furthermore, with its primary scheduled after Super Tuesday, party nominees usually have been all but officially accepted by the time the Magnolia State rolls around.

2012 is different. While Mitt Romney is a clear frontrunner in the Republican primary, he still faces three opponents, one of whom needs Mississippi (and Alabama) to clearly delineate himself from his rivals, and one of whom needs Mississippi (and Alabama) to preserve any credibility as to why he is still in the race. That’s why Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich all visited Mississippi the week prior to the primary.

All three men made stops in Jackson. I managed to see two of them in person – Santorum and Romney – while collecting a handful of reliable reports on the Gingrich events. As polls show a tight race going into the primary, each candidate used a different strategy to court voters.

Continue reading “Gingrich, Romney, Santorum visit Mississippi, vie for hotly contested Southern delegates”

GOP Presidential Candidates Visit Mississippi

Never in my lifetime can I recall so many campaign buses rolling into Jackson, Miss. Not just for those $2,000 plate lunches, either – for honest-to-goodness, down home, public rallies.

Naturally, I’m game.

The blog already attended Rick Santorum’s rally at the Ag Museum Wednesday night. Tomorrow, Newt Gingrich will be making the rounds, while the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, makes his appearance on Friday. Sadly, no word of a visit from the Ron Paul team.

Keep an eye on the Twitter page (@voiceofD) for live updates as I try to catch as many of these events as I can. A full blog post recapping the candidates’ strategies, the public’s reactions, and an attempt to project the Mississippi primary will come over the weekend.

Magnolia State politicos, enjoy the moment. We don’t get many.

Polling suggests Nominee Romney rapidly becoming a reality

Barring a dead body showing up in one of his many backyards or a surreptitious harem that would make Tiger Woods blush, Mitt Romney became the Republican nominee for President of the United States Tuesday night in New Hampshire.

Conservatives may not love his Massachusetts healthcare mandate. Tea Partiers certainly can’t like his history of political maneuvering. But this much is true, Republican voters realize that Romney is their best shot at beating Barack Obama. And in this game, electability is the stuff of winners.

Give early primary and caucus-goers credit – they have their staunchly conservative poster children, but the votes are going to the only elephant who can sway an independent voter in a general election (save Jon Huntsman, who, despite his truly presidential platform, lacks partisan primary chops. Example A: He is trailing comedian Stephen Colbert in South Carolina opinion polls.).

As you’ve probably heard by now, Romney is the first non-incumbent Republican candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire did very well, but nothing historic (way to count votes, Iowa). Pundits, and the remaining candidates in the field, feel confident that South Carolina will be Romney’s bump in the road. However, the exit poll data from the Granite State suggests that it will instead be the fatal blow to the Santorums and Gingriches and every other remaining Republican hopeful.

Continue reading “Polling suggests Nominee Romney rapidly becoming a reality”

Why Is the Media Ignoring Ron Paul?

The media go to humorous extents seemingly to pretend that Ron Paul doesn’t exist, Daily Show host Jon Stewart observed on Monday night, following Paul’s second-place finish in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll last weekend. The clip has been buzzworthy in circles of political junkies, media observers, and young citizenry looking for the next revolution. As a member of all three, it has appeared on my Facebook feed constantly for the past three days.

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Thanks to the number crunchers at the PEW Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, we can put the claim to the test.

Continue reading “Why Is the Media Ignoring Ron Paul?”