In the election coverage by a handful of the nation’s top newspapers from October 25-November 5, Obama received significant negative coverage. In all of the newspapers shown in the chart below, Obama received more negative coverage than Romney in that time period.
The Washington Post and The New York Times amplified the most negative statements about Obama in their articles as a portion of their total election coverage. However, the Washington Post also amplified a significant amount of positive coverage, with 14.6% of the statements in their election coverage in the final 10 days before Election Day being positive to Obama. Romney did not have quite as much negative coverage as Obama did, and in 3 out of 5 of the newspapers, he received more positive coverage than Obama.
These numbers are very understandable when we look at the VoiceShare of Obama and Romney in the coverage of these newspapers. Romney received significantly higher VoiceShare in 4 out of 5 newspapers. Only in election coverage by the Los Angeles Times did Obama have more statements than Romney. This powerful control of the VoiceShare by Romney flooded the coverage with anti-Obama and pro-Romney sentiment. His attacks toward Obama regarding the economy, leadership and other issues were simply amplified more than statements from Obama.
Where Obama had a better VoiceShare as compared to the other papers, his sentiment ratio is not as harsh. In the Washington Post, Obama had only about 2% less VoiceShare than Romney and in The Los Angeles Times, Obama had significantly more VoiceShare than Romney in this time period. Accordingly, Obama’s sentiment ratio is more positive in these newspapers as well.