Boston, August 31, 2012: Media focus on the looming hurricane in the Gulf region overshadowed the start of the Republican National Convention in Florida this week, challenging Romney´s media image as he dipped in the polls, according to research from Media Tenor International.
“The opening days of the conventions are critical for the candidates, as they have the opportunity to capitalize on an influx of media attention,” notes Casey Chancellor, analyst at Media Tenor. “The unfortunate timing of Hurricane Isaac and the salience of coverage on Todd Akin´s abortion comments severely overshadowed any campaigning efforts on the part of Romney and his party. Romney´s speech on Thursday night will hopefully help re-focus the media as he seeks to recover from a weak start,” adds Chancellor.
Poll data shows Romney losing ground this week, but overall, Romney has a more positive media tonality than Obama. According to Media Tenor data, Romney has been portrayed more or less on par with his own party across all the major TV networks, with a slightly more negative bias towards Romney. Obama´s ad campaign against Romney´s career and wealth from Bain Capital proved effective leading up to the primaries, as media criticism still focuses on these topics for both Romney and the Republican party. “Romney´s speech last night alluded to these issues but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough for Romney to overcome these stigmas,” notes Chancellor. “However, many voters are still likely to vote along party lines, regardless of their affinity for the candidates.”
Since 2009, neither the Democratic nor Republican parties have gained much ground in positive tonality from the media. The incumbent Democratic party has turned slightly more negative over the last four years due to the stagnant economy, which might put Obama and the Democratic congressional candidates at risk.
On the positive side for the Republicans, The Wall Street Journal has been far less critical on the Republican platform on important voter issues. Media Tenor shows that of the minimal criticism mentioned, only 4% is attributed to the voice of Democrats.
Meanwhile, media tonality on the economy improved in August due to strong finishes in the Dow Jones and NASDAQ, as well as a rebounding housing market, which may benefit Obama in the polls. However, “the tonality still remains near record lows,” adds Chancellor. With the TV networks focusing negatively on Obama and his economic policies, he remains quite vulnerable to economic sentiment.
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