Obama and Romney have gone negative on Foreign Policy in the past month of election coverage. From third-party newsmakers, Romney has received significant negativity while Obama has gotten some positive coverage.

Chart shows percentage of statements from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy broken out by sentiment.  Time frame is August 20-September 17.

Chart shows percentage of statements from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy broken out by sentiment. Time frame is August 20-September 17.

With the events in Libya pushing Foreign Policy to the focus of election coverage following the conventions, Obama and Romney have had to put on their international hats. In the past month of election coverage, each candidate has gone very negative on Foreign Policy. 39.2% of Obama’s statements on Foreign Policy have been negative toward Romney, 63.6% of Romney’s statements on Foreign Policy have been negative toward Obama. Obama has spoken more positive about his own Foreign Policy goals and accomplishments than has Romney, with 9.8% of his statements being positive and just 5.6% of Romney’s statements being positive.

Chart shows the top 75 words used in statements about Foreign Policy by Mitt Romney.  Time frame is August 20-September 17.

Chart shows the top 75 words used in statements about Foreign Policy by Mitt Romney. Time frame is August 20-September 17.

In Romney’s statements about Foreign Policy in election coverage of the past month, certain words have been used more frequently than others, exposing his campaign strategy on the subject. For one, the words “president” and “administration” have been used most often, showing that he is honing in on what the Obama administration has done, as opposed to speaking about his own Foreign Policy ideas. The words “apology” and “apologize” are also very prevalent, evidence of Romney’s criticism of Obama’s “apology tour”. The words “embassy”, “embassies”, “Egypt”, and “breached” show Romney’s discussion of recent events in the Middle East. We can also see that Romney has spoken about is oft-used criticism of Obama’s relationship with Israel and stance on Iran, evidenced by the words “Israel”, “Jerusalem” and “Iran”. Finally, Romney has criticized Obama as an ineffective leader and classified himself as someone who has the character to lead America back to greatness. The presence of the words “America”, “American”, “leadership”, “values”, “wrong”, and “right” show this messaging.

Chart shows the top 75 words used in statements about Foreign Policy by Mitt Romney.  Time frame is August 20-September 17.

Chart shows the top 75 words used in statements about Foreign Policy by Mitt Romney. Time frame is August 20-September 17.

Obama spoke more broadly about Foreign Policy than did Romney, and framed himself as having gained knowledge and experience from being President for four years. This is evidenced by the words “world”, “learned”, “lesson”, “seen”, “know”, “time” and “president”. Also, the words, “Russia”, “stuck”, “cold”, “war”, “era”, and “warp” show Obama’s strategy of attack that Romney is stuck in a Cold War mentality. Other criticisms of Romney can be pulled from the words “Olympics”, “Beijing”, “insulting”, “blundering”, “blustering” and “visit”, which point to Romney’s tour abroad when he unintentionally criticized London’s preparation for the summer Olympics.

Chart shows percentage of statements about Foreign Policy and Obama/Romney by third-party newsmakers (newsmakers outside of campaigns) broken out by sentiment.  Time frame is August 20-September 17.

Chart shows percentage of statements about Foreign Policy and Obama/Romney by third-party newsmakers (newsmakers outside of campaigns) broken out by sentiment. Time frame is August 20-September 17.

With all the negativity coming from the candidates, it is not surprising that in Foreign Policy discussion from third-party newsmakers (newsmakers outside of the campaigns), both Obama and Romney have received significant negative coverage. Romney has received much more negative coverage than Obama, with 64.6% of statements about Romney and Foreign Policy being negative in the past month, 23.5% more than Obama’s 41.1% negative coverage. Romney has gotten blasted by analysts and pundits, some even of his own party, about his statements on Libya and the Middle East. Obama has had considerably more positive coverage from third-party newsmakers when it comes to Foreign Policy, with almost one-quarter (24.1%) being positive to him. On the other hand, just 6.2% of the statements about Romney and Foreign Policy have been positive. Therefore, despite Romney drilling Obama with criticisms and attacks, Obama’s Foreign Policy has been discussed much more positively by newsmakers outside of the campaigns.