The healthcare ruling on June 28th caused a huge spike in coverage on healthcare in election coverage. It was the highest spike of any policy issue since general election coverage began, but it was also the briefest.
Following the Healthcare ruling on June 28th (D), discussion of Healthcare (blue) in election coverage increased from 10% to 40%. It was the highest weekly spike of any policy issue in election coverage since Romney became the presumptive nominee and general election media coverage began.
Previous to the Healthcare ruling, there were three other events that cause major spikes in discussion of policy issues in election coverage. The first was Obama’s gay marriage endorsement on May 9th (A), which caused discussion of Social Issues (red) in election coverage to increase to 29% during the week of May 4-10. Second, the release of the May jobs report on June 1st (B) caused coverage of the Economy (green) to spike to 35% during the week of June 1-7. Lastly, the 25% spike in coverage of Immigration (brown) from June 15-21 was caused by Obama’s executive order on immigration made on June 15th.
After coverage of Healthcare spiked to 40% of total election coverage in the week of June 29-July 5, it rapidly fell off the front pages and decreased to just 7% of total coverage in one week following the ruling. In contrast, the previous spikes in policy issue coverage did not fade away as quickly. The spike in discussion of Social Issues after Obama’s gay marriage endorsement decreased only 5% in it’s second week of coverage. Discussion of the economy after the May jobs report only decreased 1% in it’s second week of coverage, and discussion of Immigration after Obama’s executive order actually increased by 4% in the second week of coverage. Therefore, while the healthcare ruling attracted the most coverage to one issue since the general election began, it fell by the wayside the most rapidly. This is likely due to the spike in coverage of the economy after the June jobs report was released on July 6th, refocusing election coverage on the economy once again.