April 1, 2010

The Race for Media Coverage

January 1 – March 28, 2010 % of 2010 Election Newshole
Evan Bayh 13.3
Chris Dodd 6.3
John McCain 5.6
David Paterson 4.7
Blanche Lincoln 4.3
Barack Obama 4.3
Byron Dorgan 3.7
JD Hayworth 3.3

No. 3 – Where John McCain ranks among newsmakers in the 2010 midterm election news

John McCain’s fight to hang onto his senate seat recently put him in the media spotlight. The former GOP presidential nominee faces a tough challenge from former congressman and conservative talk-radio host J.D. Hayworth. Yet as big a story as that would be, up to now, others have made even more news. From January 1 through March 28, McCain has been a lead newsmaker in just 5.6% of the upcoming midterms stories, placing him the third among those covered. (To be considered a lead newsmaker, a person has to be featured in at least 50% of the story.) Hayworth, McCain’s top opponent—highlighted in 3.3% of the stories—is the No. 8 newsmaker.  

The biggest mid-term newsmaker so far is Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, once talked about as a Democratic presidential possibility. Bayh’s February 15 announcement that he was retiring from electoral politics because it had become too nasty was a major story, and 13.3% of the mid terms coverage has focused on him.  The second most covered politician in the 2010 race is Chris Dodd, the embattled senator from Connecticut.  6.3% of the 2010 stories have prominetly featured Dodd following his announcement in January.

Another senator dropping from the race, providing opportunities for Republicans in November as well as horserace fodder for the news media, is Byron Dorgan from North Dakota. His January announcement made him the seventh biggest newsmaker with 3.7% of the 2010 election stories.

Also not seeking reelection is New York Governor David Paterson, who made the announcement following low poll numbers and allegations that he intervened in a domestic assault complaint against a top aide.  He is the 4th biggest newsmaker, featured in 4.7% of the 2010 election stories.  

Senator Blanch Lincoln from Arkansas is still running for reelection in 2010, but polls show her trailing several Republicans candidates. This possible GOP upset has made her the 5th biggest newsmaker in the 2010 race, featured in 4.3% of the stories.

Finally, President Barack Obama is a newsmaker in 4.3% of the stories, tying him for 6th place with Blanche Lincoln.

Tricia Sartor of PEJ