Last updated: April 4, 2012 - 10:40am
Although the voters’ verdict was mixed on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney proved to be the clear winner of the media narrative that followed.
In a week when Romney finished first in six of ten Super Tuesday contests, 58% of the news coverage about his candidacy was positive and just 16% negative, according to Campaign 2012 in the Media, an ongoing effort to track campaign coverage by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That differential of positive coverage outpacing negative by 42 points was, by far, Romney’s best week of coverage this year. (Another 26% of the coverage was neutral.) Romney’s media narrative has been on the upswing for two weeks.
Rick Santorum, who won three Super Tuesday states and came within an eyelash of Romney in Ohio, had a more mixed news narrative last week. In all, 32% of his news coverage was positive compared with 32% negative and 35% neutral. That marked a downturn from the week before, when Santorum finished close behind Romney in the crucial Michigan primary and had positive coverage (38%) that was moderately higher than his negative coverage (30%). Romney also dominated in the race for the amount of coverage. He was a significant presence in fully 64% of campaign stories studied by PEJ last week, compared with 44% for Santorum. A week earlier, Santorum was a significant focus of 59% of stories, still behind Romney but much closer.
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