With Election Day looming and some key races tightening, the 2010 midterms dominated the news agenda last week, registering their highest level of coverage to date.
For the week of October 18-24, the congressional election cycle accounted for 38% of the newshole, up substantially from 28% the previous week, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That also eclipsed the previous high water mark for this year’s midterm coverage (30%), which occurred from September 13-19 when tea party candidate Christine O’Donnell won a stunning victory in Delaware’s GOP senate primary.
Both of the central media narratives of this campaign gained momentum last week: The battle for control of the senate, highlighted by a number of very close races in crucial states; and the nasty tenor of many of these campaigns, including everything from sharp-elbowed ads to personal attacks.
One of the races that featured both of those elements was in Kentucky. Democrat Jack Conway has been cutting into Republican Rand Paul’s lead according to some polls and last week, the campaign was marked by a controversial Conway ad questioning Paul’s religious beliefs. Rand and Conway were also among the individuals generating the most attention in last week’s campaign news.
The No. 2 story, at 12%, was the state of the economy. For the past month, that narrative has been fueled by the issue of fraudulent foreclosure procedures and the big news last week was that the Bank of America had decided to resume housing foreclosures.
Read the full report, 2010 Midterm Coverage Hits a New High on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.