Depending on how you count, anywhere from seven to more than a dozen Republican candidates are running for president. But it was a non-candidate who fueled one of the biggest weeks of campaign coverage to date.
Speculation that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might enter the fray made the 2012 presidential election the No. 1 story in the news media the week of September 26-October 2, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Coverage of the campaign accounted for 15% of the newshole studied last week. That was the third-biggest week for campaign coverage this year—and the biggest not to involve a candidate debate.
The fervor over Christie last week came on the heels of a shaky debate performance by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, followed by his failure to win the Florida straw poll. And Christie’s intimations that he had not ruled out running were enough to make him a significant newsmaker in 25% of campaign stories examined last week. Some of this came from heavy coverage of his speech at the Ronald Reagan Library on September 27. Christie received nearly twice the amount of attention drawn by Perry (14%) who, up until last week, had been the most-covered Republican candidate since the week of August 8-14, the week he formally entered the race.
Read the full report, Christie Speculation Gives Campaign Top Billing, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.