PEJ Campaign Coverage Index: October 27 - November 2, 2008, In the Last Week, Numbers Make the News

Nov 04, 2008

The front page of the Washington Post Nov. 2 was dominated by a multi-colored graphic located below the headline, “McCain’s Challenge: An Uphill Climb to 270.” The chart—which calculated electoral map math—grouped states that were “solid” for Obama and McCain, states that were “leaning” toward either one and states that were “up for grabs.” The verdict: If Obama simply carries the states in which he is favored, he would end up with 291 electoral votes, 21 more than needed for victory.

It was only one of many such maps in the last week. If there ever is a time when campaigns are horse races, it is in the final days, and coverage was indeed largely about the contest itself. In the week from Oct. 27-Nov. 2, the top storyline in the media, was coverage of the contest for crucial battleground states, filling 16% of the campaign newshole studied, according to the Campaign Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The battle over swing states was also No.1 the previous week, but at a smaller 10% of the coverage.

Read the full report In the Last Week, Numbers Make the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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