The positive topic and sentiment focus of newsmakers outside of campaigns (i.e. third-party validators) is a partial indicator of the effectiveness of a campaign’s messaging strategy. While third-party validators commenting on Romney’s campaign praise him in regards to campaign issues such as his poll position and campaign tactics, third-party validators commenting on Obama’s campaign are supportive of his policy positions such as his statements on gay marriage, the economy, and immigration.
Romney’s Third-Party Support is About the Campaign Itself
On June 18, The 4thEstate Project published a post about the third-party validators for Romney and Obama. In the post, 4thEstate data showed that Romney’s third-party support came from fellow Republicans whereas third-party support for Obama came from nonaligned newsmakers such as analysts, commentators, and journalists. The topics that these third-party validators are discussing when they say supportive things influence the perception of the campaign from the outside and are indicative of the overall effectiveness of the campaigns’ messaging.
For Romney, the majority of third-party support is about campaign issues such as Horse Race (red), Campaign Strategy (black), and Campaign Character (yellow). Over 60% of positive statements toward Romney in election coverage from third-party validators is about these three issues combined. Surprisingly, discussion of the economy only consists of 14% of Romney’s third-party support. When comparing that with what the campaign is projecting, the Romney campaign discussed the economy in over 30% of statements in election coverage in the same time period. This shows that while the Romney campaign is discussing the economy as their main issue, newsmakers from outside the campaign aren’t necessarily reinforcing the idea that Romney’s economic prowess is an asset. Only 11% of the statements from the Romney campaign about the economy in this time period were positive to Romney and the majority, 54%, were negative to Obama. Therefore, while Romney and his staff have talked about the economy a lot, they rarely boast about Romney being a job creator, and instead spend more energy laying blame and criticism on Obama for mishandling the economy.
Obama’s Third-Party Support is More Derived From Policy Issues
Obama received third-party support on a greater variety of topics than did Romney, including policy issues such as the economy, social issues like gay marriage, and immigration. While most of the statements from third-party validators have been about his campaign strategy, positive discussion toward Obama about the Economy (green), Social Issues (red) and Immigration (aqua), consists of over 40% of Obama’s third-party newsmaker support. In an interesting side note, and in contrast to the Romney campaign, the Obama campaign is amplifying similar messaging to the third-party validator group. Discussion of the Economy, Social issues and Immigration combined make up 56% of their statements in election coverage in this time period, which are the same three main topics that third-party validators are discussing.