New York, May 30, 2008: Barack Obama has a narrow lead in national opinion polls, but public opinion is still volatile, according to Media Tenor?s analysis.
?Day by day analysis indicates that a clear and continuous media trend has helped Obama win support this month,? says Markus Rettich, Head of Political Analysis at Media Tenor International. ?As Tom Brokaw put it back in 2000: ?The networks giveth and the networks taketh away.' But so far I can see no general trend when it comes to the two candidates.?
Detailed analysis of this week?s and last week?s coverage shows that McCain's television coverage was almost neutral. Obama provoked more evaluative statements, both positive and negative in tone.
So far the McCain campaign has successfully raised questions concerning Barack Obama?s foreign policy platform. The issue was one of the top five topics for the Illinois Senator this week, and the tone was negative. But it is unclear, whether foreign policy will remain a strong point for McCain.
?He may face problems on Iraq again,? says Rettich. Following the March anniversary of the conflict and the Petraeus hearings in early April, the Iraq issue disappeared from the media agenda.
The U.S. situation in Iraq was both rarely mentioned and received coverage that was almost balanced in tone. Negative stories were down and positive stories were up in May.
?Media Tenor data does not cover reality but measures media reality,? explains Rettich, ?and the message was: forget about it, it?s okay.? However, Scott McClellan?s allegations have brought the war issue back into the news lately.
The share of statements on McCain?s Iraq platform was 9% for this week, making the issue one of the media's top 5 topics when it came to his coverage. From Monday to Thursday the tone of this coverage was moderately negative, but seems to pose no major problems ? so far. Poll data indicate that public opinion on Iraq forms strictly along party affiliation ( see www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm ) with Republicans approving of the current U.S. Policy while Democrats and independent voters don?t. This is a crucial issue for McCain. Since he supported President Bush?s policy, the Iraq issue might help him to attract Republican voters, but also runs the risk of costing him the independents.
As the media clearly focused on Obama and McCain, Clinton received what can be called farewell coverage: friendly treatment but nothing decisive. Compared with both Obama and McCain, Clinton was rated better than each of the two men, but at a low level of awareness.
For the third time, International Media analysis company Media Tenor is offering a detailed analysis of the U.S. presidential campaign. TV news coverage of the leading Presidential contenders is scrutinized at a detailed level. ?The methodology was developed 15 years ago and has been successfully used not only to analyze the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Presidential campaigns, but also for International politics as well,? Rettich explains. Media Tenor?s Presidential Campaign Watch focuses not only on candidate standings, but also on topics and sources, while adding an international perspective. Results of Media Tenor studies will be regularly published on MediaChannel.org.
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