New York, October 17, 2008: With the three presidential debates now concluded, the race to the White House is now in its home stretch, but the outcome remains far from clear.
"While the international media actually saw Obama as the winner of the last debate, the U.S. media has been positive on McCain for it," says Roland Schatz, President of Media Tenor International. "Overall, the debates helped McCain more than Obama; he was able to reduce his negatives and increase his positives. Obama didn´t fare as well, finishing the final debate with a higher share of negative ratings and a lower share of positive ones than he had at the end of the first.”
The debate helped to highlight which issues are strong for each candidate. “Previously Obama had an advantage on economic issues, but now McCain has the edge on both the economy and taxation. ´Joe the Plumber´ helped to highlight this in the debate,” Schatz notes. “Iraq has also become a topic that benefits McCain, especially now that there is a plan for troop withdrawal. On the other hand, healthcare is a strongly positive subject for Obama, but the topic isn´t receiving much coverage and so may not effect the race as much as it could.”
The economy remains the central issue in the election, but the impact it will have is less clear. “The tone with which Fox News is covering the economy is much less negative than the coverage it is getting from the three broadcast networks,” Schatz says. “This corresponds with the leanings of the networks. Fox tends to favor McCain and views the economic situation as less severe. The networks tend to favor Obama and have a view on the economy more in line with the Democrats. Which candidate the voters think is best for the economy may depend on which version of the economic coverage is ultimately taken as true,” he adds, noting that the economy grew in the first two quarters of the year and that third quarter results have yet to come out.
“Despite this growth,” Schatz says, “coverage of the economy has not always reflected that, focusing instead on concerns of recession and even depression.”
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,” Schatz explains. Media Tenor´s Presidential Campaign Watch focuses not only on candidate standings, but also on topics and sources, while adding an international perspective.
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