Obama’s Executive Order on immigration caused the discussion to divert away from the economy. Similar to his gay marriage endorsement, Obama’s announcement on immigration successfully pushed coverage of jobs and unemployment to the back pages. It will be interesting to see how long this conversation can keep the economy on the back burner.
Coverage on Immigration Surpassed Discussion of the Economy
Once again, Barack Obama has altered the conversation surrounding the election by making an executive order on Immigration. Discussion of immigration hovered around 1% in the past month until his announcement, when coverage of the topic spiked by 33%, surpassing discussion of the economy by 9% in the middle of June. By making this executive order, Obama introduced a new conversation about immigration reform, executive orders and constitutionality. This caused Romney to react with his own insights on immigration, leading him off track from his usual discussion on the economy.
Obama did a similar thing in mid-May when he and Joe Biden made public endorsements of gay marriage. In early May, prior to the endorsements, discussion of the economy in election coverage was up to 36% and was the most-discussed policy issue of the campaign. After Obama made his announcement on gay marriage on May 10, discussion of the economy dropped to 6% of total election coverage while discussion of gay marriage and other social issues jumped to 47%. This diversion of discussion away from the economy did not last long, however. Gay marriage discussion was absent from election coverage within just one week of the announcement. This time, it will be interesting to see how long discussion of immigration can keep the economy off the front pages.