Campaign Strategy Dominated Coverage in Late May
In the second half of May, election coverage became increasingly about campaign strategy rather than policy issues. On May 14, the percent of quotes about campaign strategy was only 17% of total coverage. In just over two weeks, campaign strategy as a quote focus skyrocketed to 57% of coverage. On May 23, there were more than 4 times as many quotes about campaign strategy than there were on Economy and Social Issues combined.
A series of stories caused this extreme spike. First, the Obama campaign’s viability for attacking Romney’s time at Bain Capital has been argued thoroughly on talk shows and radio segments. Many believe that the Obama team is walking a fine line in trying to discredit Romney’s experience at Bain while also avoiding an anti-capitalist tone. Secondly, the plan by the Super PAC run by Joe Ricketts and other GOP strategists to use Jeremiah Wright to attack Obama in a series of ads caused a brief but large stir among political scientists. Lastly, there has been ongoing discussion by influential GOP strategists about Mitt Romney’s best pick for Vice President. As the Obama and Romney teams are making their plays, we are seeing that much of the discussion has not been about their stance on certain issues but instead on the political movements that are being made.