Economy Still Important in Foreign Policy Debate

Chart shows percentage of statements in election coverage broken out by topic.  Time frame is October 22-25.

Chart shows percentage of statements in election coverage broken out by topic. Time frame is October 22-25.

In the final Presidential debate held last Monday, the theme was foreign policy. However, campaign issues (strategy, general debate recap, horse race status, etc) made up 29% of the coverage following the debate. This consisted of the political pundits discussing the political skill of the candidates and their arguments, as well as how the debates would influence the horse race.

Interestingly, the economy as an issue made up over 10% of the follow-up coverage. Both candidates repeatedly came back to the economy in the debate, showing the pervasiveness of the issue. Both Obama and Romney argued that a strong standing throughout the world starts at home with a strong economy.

'Horses and Bayonets' Comment Amplified in Follow-Up Coverage

Chart shows percentage of statements in election coverage from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney broken out by topic.  Time frame is October 22-25.

Chart shows percentage of statements in election coverage from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney broken out by topic. Time frame is October 22-25.

In the statements from each candidate that were amplified in the follow-up media coverage, both Romney and Obama spoke mostly about foreign policy. This was not a surprise. However, Romney had a much higher percentage of foreign policy statements than Obama. Obama on the other hand, had more statements amplified about National Security than Romney. Obama delivered the zinger of the night regarding the size of the US navy (“horses and bayonets, battleship, etc”), which drew major attention in follow-up coverage. 4thEstate classified those statements as a pertaining to National Security.