Last week Rick Santorum ended his bid to become the GOP presidential candidate. Santorum made a speech announcing his withdrawal in which there was a notable absence of any mention of Mitt Romney.
50% of the total articles monitored in our sample from April 10 and 11 were either directly about or mentioned this speech; 10.27% of the statements during these two days were excerpts from the speech. Embedded in this coverage was a significant percentage swing in VoiceShare from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum (see the chart at the bottom of this post), as during this brief time period, Santorum’s resignation dominated the entire coverage.
The first word cloud above (Santorum’s) shows the main lexicon amplified by the media from Santorum’s speech. The size of each word represents proportionally how many times that word appeared. Two issues stand out. First, the words “Mitt” and “Romney” have no relative relevance. Second, any words related to policy issues were much less amplified than those referring to the strategy or the reasons for the withdrawal.
When the same analysis is applied to the whole of the lexicon cited for the same period (all text outside of Santorum’s lexicon) it becomes evident that, despite “Santorum” appearing as a relevant topic, the coverage and opinions were focused on Romney becoming the GOP Presidential Candidate and President Obama’s general election opponent.
For the two days after Santorum’s resignation, policy issues lost all amplification. As Romney emerged as the candidate, it was not the message Santorum tried to express in his speech, but the consequences of suspending his campaign that were relevant to the media.