Romney’s trip abroad changed the conversation of the election coverage from the economy to foreign policy. The majority of the coverage was driven by Romney himself, as his statements on foreign policy were amplified and analyzed in print, radio and television broadcast.
On July 18, the 4thEstate published this post highlighting the injection of four policy issues in media coverage of the election: Obama’s gay marriage endorsement (Social issues), the May jobs report (Economy), Obama’s executive order on immigration (Immigration), and the Healthcare ruling (Healthcare). Maneuvers by Obama caused three out of these four spikes, showing that he has consistently tried to steer the conversation away from the economy. Romney, on the other hand, has done everything he can to speak about the poor economy and cast blame on Obama.
Foreign Policy Coverage Spikes in Late July
However, in the past couple weeks this has not been the case for Romney. Prompted by his trip overseas to Britain, Poland and Israel, Romney has turned the discussion toward Foreign Policy, causing coverage of the issue to surpass the ever-present coverage of the Economy. For the beginning of July, discussion of Foreign Policy in election coverage was almost non-existent. From July 26-29, Foreign Policy was the most-discussed issue in election coverage at over 30% of coverage, surpassing discussion of the economy.
Romney Has Driven the Recent Foreign Policy Discussion
Almost one half (48%) of the statements in coverage of Foreign Policy have come from Mitt Romney and just 10% from Barack Obama. This shows that Romney has been the main source of coverage on the issue. Unsurprisingly, he has been extremely critical of Obama. One-third of Romney’s statements about Foreign Policy have been negative to Obama. It will be interesting to see if Obama responds to his competitor and begins to speak more about Foreign Policy in the coming days to defend his record, or allows the attacks to fade away.