Last week, the “47% video” caused major negative attention to shift onto Romney, his stance on entitlements, and his character.
Following Mother Jones’ leak of Romney’s “47% video” last Monday, discussion of Entitlements (purple) went from 5% to 17% of total election coverage from September 16-19. Discussion of Candidate Character (orange) also increased from 7.1% to 11.3% of coverage in that time period. These two increases were caused by the “47% video”, which drew attention to Romney’s stance on Entitlements and the implications on his character.
By the end of the week on Saturday, September 22nd, coverage of the Entitlements decreased from 17% to 10%. This was caused in part by a second, more dramatic, rise in coverage of Candidate Character. The Romney campaign released his 2011 taxes on Friday, September 21st, drawing some attention away from the “47% video” and driving this shift. However, discussion of Entitlements driven from the video, and its implications for the Romney campaign, did not die down to pre-video levels.
Overall, the “47% video” made for a very difficult week for the Romney campaign. From September 16-22, 53.3% of statements from third-party newsmakers (those outside of the campaigns) in election coverage were about Romney, and 23.7% of them were negative to Romney. Of those negative statements, 76.1% were about Campaign Strategy, Entitlements, or Character. This shows the three-pronged criticism Romney received from the video: criticism of the campaign strategy for allowing such a leak, criticism of the 47% statement itself, and criticism of its implications for Romney’s character. Only 22.2% of the week’s statements from third-party newsmakers in election coverage were about Obama, and he received almost equal negative to positive coverage from these newsmakers.