Both campaigns shifted to more positive messaging in the final few days before the election. The Romney campaign used more of their airtime for positive messaging than did the Obama campaign, but by only a slight margin.
During the month of October, the Romney campaign blasted Obama with negative statements in election coverage. Much of this consisted of amplified statements from the debates. In mid-October, negativity from the Romney campaign reached its height, with 54% of their statements being negative to Obama and only 10% positive to Romney. However, in the first few days of November, the Romney campaign’s messaging became much more positive. From November 1-4, positive statements from the Romney campaign as a percentage of their total statements in election coverage increased from 15% to 37%, and negative statements dropped from 33% to 31%.
Statements from the Obama campaign in election coverage show a very similar trend to the Romney campaign over the past month. During the debate cycle, Obama and his team were much more negative to Romney than they were positive to Obama. Again, this coverage consisted of many amplified statements from the debates. Prior to and during Hurricane Sandy, the Obama campaign’s negative statements toward Romney dropped from 50% to under 25% of their total statements in election coverage. However, positive statements continued to hover around 15-20% during that time period. This is because they turned to discussion of the hurricane, thus injecting a high amount of neutral statements into the coverage (neutral statements are excluded from the chart). It was not until the first few days of November did the Obama campaign shift their messaging from negative to positive, with their positive messaging surpassing their negative messaging by 9% from November 1-4.