News Interest Index: Clinton Controversy Heavily Covered but Obama Maintains Visibility Edge

Apr 03, 2008

Hillary Clinton's retraction of her claim that she came under sniper fire while visiting Bosnia in 1996 was one of the main campaign storylines last week. But the controversy over her statements did not resonate as widely as the furor over statements made by Barack Obama's pastor earlier in March. Roughly four-in-ten Americans heard a lot about Clinton's claim that she came under sniper fire, placing this story near the middle of the list of campaign news events this year in terms of overall visibility. By comparison, in Pew's News Interest Index survey a week ago, 51% reported having heard "a lot" about Rev. Wright's sermons.

While Clinton was the number one newsmaker of the week, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's Campaign Coverage Index, she continues to lag behind Obama in terms of public visibility. PEJ's analysis of news coverage found that Clinton was featured prominently in 63% of all campaign stories last week, while Barack Obama was featured in 54% and John McCain in just 24% of the stories. Yet when asked which candidate they had heard the most about last week, 53% said Obama, 30% Clinton and 4% McCain. This represents a significant shift from the previous week, when 70% cited Obama as the candidate they had heard the most about, 15% Clinton and 3% McCain.

Read the full report Clinton Controversy Heavily Covered but Obama Maintains Visibility Edge on the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Web site.

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