PEJ News Coverage Index: In Gingrich's Final Week, No Respite from Negative Coverage

May 08, 2012

Newt Gingrich's official exit from the presidential race on May 2 was greeted with the kind of coverage he experienced throughout the 2012 primary season-a sharply negative narrative.

From April 30-May 6, negative coverage of the former House Speaker (38%) outweighed the positive (18%) by 20 percentage points, according to the Campaign 2012 in the Media, a weekly tracking of the tone and volume of coverage of the candidates by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That marked the sixth consecutive week when Gingrich's negative coverage exceeded positive by more than 10 points-and in many of those weeks, the margin was considerably higher.

The same week, the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney enjoyed more positive (33%) than negative coverage (25%). After largely mixed coverage in the first three weeks in April-when the narrative switched from the Republican primary battle to a general election focus-Romney has now enjoyed two consecutive weeks when his tone was solidly more positive than negative. That is due in part to GOP officials and former rivals coalescing around his candidacy. Last week, he garnered the endorsements of Michele Bachmann and the departing Gingrich.

Read the PEJ Election Report on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism website.

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