August 27, 2008

Betting on Biden

% of Stories
J. Biden 31
H. Clinton 9
T. Kaine 9
E. Bayh 8
K. Sebelius 3

31%-Amount of veepstakes stories that prominently mention Joe Biden. 

In the week that Barack Obama unveiled Joe Biden as his vice-presidential pick, media attention to the veepstakes reached a near fever pitch. Twenty eight percent of the campaign newshole from Aug. 18-24 involved speculation over the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket. (Once Senator Joe Biden was selected, another 9% of that week’s campaign coverage was devoted to the reaction.)

Even though the decision was shrouded in secrecy and several candidates were reportedly on Obama’s short list, the media’s crystal ball proved to be pretty clear. According to PEJ’s Campaign Coverage Index for Aug. 18-24, Biden was the most heavily covered Democratic vice-presidential hopeful. The Delaware Senator was a significant or dominant factor in almost one-third (31%) of the veepstakes stories before the decision was made.

None of the other candidates being mentioned for the slot generated nearly as much coverage. Hillary Clinton and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine were next at 9% of the vice-presidential stories followed closely by Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, at 8%. Well behind at 3% was another Democratic politician who generated some VP buzz—Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.