June 8, 2011

The Campaign Retakes its Place in the Spotlight

Campaign Coverage 2007 2011
Jan. 1.2 0.2
0.7 0.2
5.1 1.6
13.4 0.9
Feb. 9.2 0.3
7.8 0.8
8.7 1.8
11.4 0.7
Mar. 7.6 1.6
8.8 0.7
8.9 1.9
7.4 1.5
Apr. 6.8 1.5
10 3.4
4.4 2.4
2 8.2
May 10.4 6.7
13.3 2.5
6.1 7.9
9.9 11.1
5.9 8.9
Jun. 9.4 12.1

1114% – Jump in campaign coverage from January through May 

After a slow start, the 2012 presidential campaign—and the media coverage of it—has begun to take off. Attention in the mainstream press has increased more than six-fold from the first quarter of the year.

Indeed for the past four weeks, the 2012 race has generated even more coverage than the 2008 campaign did during the same time period four years ago.

This is particularly noteworthy given the nature of the two races. In 2008, there was competition for both a Republican and a Democratic nominations, with 21 major candidates announced by early June. This included historic runs from Hillary Clinton—the first viable female candidate—and Barack Obama—the first viable African American candidate.

So far this year, while the Democrats have an incumbent running, on the Republican side just six nationally known individuals have declared their candidacy.

The first major announcement came from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich four weeks ago. (May 9-15 with 7.9%). As additional candidates made their formal announcements or exists, attention remained high. Last week (May 30-June 5), coverage of the 2012 Campaign reached its highest level (12.1%) when former Massachusetts Governor and current front-runner, Mitt Romney, formally entered the race. Also that week 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin kept many guessing about her 2012 ambitions as she continued her unorthodox bus tour across America.

There are now 74 weeks left until Election Day. But after a slow beginning, the campaign, at least in the media, appears to have begun in earnest.

Tricia Sartor of PEJ