By Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services
With the Iowa Caucus upon us, I’m writing this post just hours before we learn which candidate may emerge with a chance to run for the party nomination. If you listen to the commercials one may think that every candidate is a hate mongering, incompetent person that lacks all styles of leadership. If one watched the many debates we have had so far, you’re undoubtedly left with at least two thoughts. First, there are too many Republican candidates to fit on one stage. Second, Donald Trump has the ability to drop a networks audience ratings and ad revenue by simply not showing up.
So the image of this crop of Republican and Democratic candidates may not differ from election cycles of the past. Campaigns have gone negative. People have made personal insults. But what may differ is the image of the candidates, and their ability to wag the dog (in this post the media is the dog). Ironically, the two front-runners, Clinton and Trump, have a greater negative volume of media mentions relative to positive mentions. In other words, their news is more often negative than positive. Whereas the reverse is true for Sanders and Cruz.
We’ve done some last minute media measurement that combines the top two candidates within each party. We have looked at their share of voice in the media, then overlaid article sentiment to determine which candidates appear to be the true front-runners heading into tonight’s Iowa Caucus. Based on our analysis we can make the following claims.
Between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Donald gets more media exposure. However, Cruz has more positive stories posted/written about him than Trump receives. Will the power of the positive overcome the volume of stories Trump has received?
On the democratic side, Hillary Clinton gets far more media coverage than Bernie Sanders. But Sanders articles are more positive than negative, whereas the reverse is true for Clinton.
We plan to follow up with a post looking at the media coverage posted after the Iowa Caucus process finishes. Before everything moves to New Hampshire, we should be able to see how media share of voice and article sentiment correlate to public opinion, specifically within the caucus process. Stay tuned, but also leave us your thoughts on what you think impacts the voters the most.