The top national print outlets covering the election have been amplifying very little positive coverage toward Obama and Romney since late April. The topics on which each candidate is receiving positive coverage are a little surprising.

Chart shows percent of positive statements toward each candidate out of total coverage in each print outlet.  Time frame is April 17 – July 11.

Chart shows percent of positive statements toward each candidate out of total coverage in each print outlet. Time frame is April 17 – July 11.

Since April 17th, the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have produced the most national print coverage on the presidential election. Very little of this coverage has been positive. Neither Obama nor Romney have received more than 9% positive coverage in any of the newspapers. Perhaps most surprising is that the New York Times has amplified an equal amount of positive coverage toward Obama and Romney.

Chart shows percentage of statements positive toward Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, divided by topic, in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.  Time frame is April 17 – July 11.

Chart shows percentage of statements positive to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, divided by topic. Is average of data from positive statements in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. Time frame is April 17 – July 11.

The positive coverage that Obama and Romney received from these four print outlets was derived from different topics. Both candidates received similar amounts of their positive coverage on Campaign Strategy (black) and Horse Race (purple).

A high percentage of Romney’s positive coverage from these four print outlets was derived from the topic of Candidates Character (yellow). Romney’s character has been under attack for the duration of the GOP Primary and General Election campaigns. Romney has been characterized as robotic, he has tightly managed personal access and he has been framed by the Obama campaign as being “out of touch” with the American people due to his massive wealth. However, Romney, his staff and other third-party validators have received some positive coverage of these four outlets in the past few months – portraying Romney in a better light. Over half (53%) of Romney’s positive coverage on the issue of Character in the four print outlets has come from these newsmakers.

On the other hand, 20% of positive coverage toward Obama comes from statements regarding the economy. Obama has received positive statements about his performance handling the economy from a few influential analysts such as Mark Zandi from Moody’s analytics, along with some former politicians such as former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell.