Boston, August 3, 2012: Despite a TV ad campaign attacking Romney, the media continues to be sharply negative on President Obama´s ability to deliver when it comes to the economy. And, while there is some positivity for the incumbent president on job creation, US television news has clearly given the economic advantage to Romney, says research institute Media Tenor International.
“The economy is a huge risk for Obama, and that´s not going away,” says Racheline Maltese, a researcher at Media Tenor, “Despite some positivity for Obama around job creation, even on that topic both our data and polling shows that Romney is considered more equipped to handle the issue. Obama still has a slight edge in overall polling, but the economic sentiment and tone of TV news may make that limited advantage hard for him to hold on to.”
“However, everything isn´t perfect for Romney,” Maltese adds. “The criticism around Bain and personal wealth is still there, but it´s not a topic that is calling Romney´s personal expertise into question.” Meanwhile, criticism for Romney´s comments on Republican views on banking regulation, which were taken by some pundits to mean banks should be left alone even after the events since the Lehman collapse, have not risen to prominence in US TV news, Maltese says. “There is significant potential risk there,” Maltese notes, “but the media agenda has not picked that story up.”
Not all the news networks are convinced of Romney´s economic expertise, however. “Only ABC is certain in its positivity on Romney around economic issues,” Maltese notes. “CBS is barely positive and both NBC and Fox are quite skeptical. While loyal Fox viewers aren´t likely to vote for Obama, who the network criticizes at a much higher rate, they may not be enthused to go out to the polls for Romney either. The Fox criticism on economic issues puts Romney at risk with his base, and, overall, the story remains not that Romney is great on the economy, just that he´s less bad than Obama.”
Additionally, ongoing and significant media negativity on the economy as a whole puts Obama at risk as voters receive news that may suggest they should be dissatisfied with their economic circumstances. “The media coverage on the economy may ultimately be as significant to the race as the coverage of the candidates,” Maltese says.
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