In today’s post, we are analyzing the coverage of the economy by top national print outlets from January to November. In the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times, coverage of the economy as a percentage of each paper’s total coverage was at its highest in June and July.

There were two events that caused this high coverage: Obama’s “the private sector is doing just fine” comment in early June and the dismal jobs report that was released in early July that sparked intense criticism from Romney. In all five newspapers, there is a visible spike in the beginning of June and in the beginning of July. In the middle to end of June, we see a decline in coverage of the economy, but it picks up again at the start of July.

Charts show coverage of the economy over time, as a percentage of each newspapers total election coverage.  Time frame is May 1-November 6, 2012

Charts show coverage of the economy over time, as a percentage of each newspapers total election coverage. Time frame is May 1-November 6, 2012

While all five newspapers elevated their coverage of the economy in June and July, some did so more than others. In the New York Times and Boston Globe, coverage of the economy never surpassed 18% of their total election coverage. The topics of Candidate Character and Campaign Strategy were covered more than economy by both newspapers in June and July. A significant majority of this coverage was about Romney. The Globe especially covered Romney much more than Obama, and often with more negative sentiment.

In the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, more coverage was dedicated to the economy in June and July. In the Post and Journal, coverage of the economy got up to 30% and 50%, respectively. Both papers had sharp increases in economy coverage in early June, followed by a sharp drop at the end of the month, when coverage shifted due to aftermath of Obama’s Excecutive Order on immigration (June 15) and the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare (June 28). Once those two stories exited the airwaves, the June jobs report was released on July 6 and Romney opened fire on Obama, calling the report a “kick in the gut”. This line of attack re-ignited election coverage on the economy.