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Snubbed Again: Ron Paul Surges in Iowa and the Media Yawns

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Despite rising to 2nd place in the new Des Moines Register survey, Paul gets just 5 percent of coverage in reporting on the poll - the same level as Santorum, Perry, and Bachmann

ronpaul10.jpgWhile Newt Gingrich deservedly received the lion's share of attention borne out of a recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll that found him emerge as the top preference of likely caucus-goers one month out, the Ron Paul camp must be wondering what it has to do in the Hawkeye State to get noticed.

Paul's support in the new poll increased 50 percent from the organization's last poll conducted a month ago - from 12 percent to 18 percent - and leapfrogged Mitt Romney (at 16 percent) along the way.

Gingrich's numbers more than tripled from seven to 25 percent.

Representative Paul, however, did not simply take a back seat in coverage on the new survey to the former House Speaker, but he also trailed Romney and ex-candidate Herman Cain by a wide margin.

Paul languished with the bottom-tier candidates in the race - all equally starved for media attention.

A Smart Politics content analysis of nearly two-dozen reports written on the Des Moines Register poll by prominent national news outlets finds that coverage of the poll's second place finisher Ron Paul accounted for just 5 percent of these articles - about one-quarter the attention received by Mitt Romney (20.1 percent) and the same as bottom-tier candidates Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry.

Media reports on the new Iowa Poll analyzed for this study were written by ABC News, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Business Insider, CBS News, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Daily Beast, The Hill, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, National Review, National Journal, New York Post, New York Times, POLITICO, Reuters, Slate, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Washington Times.

These 23 news outlets wrote 8,816 words on the Des Moines Register poll in their initial reporting, with attention on Gingrich receiving the plurality of the coverage at 2,807 words (31.8 percent).

Although Representative Paul was second in the survey, coverage of his campaign and his standing in the Iowa poll tallied just 464 words, or 5.3 percent of these reports.

That was approximately one-quarter of the amount of attention received by Mitt Romney in these two-dozen reports, with the former Massachusetts governor notching 1,773 words or 20.1 percent of the coverage.

Even Herman Cain, soon to be a footnote in the Iowa race, was discussed at more than twice that of Paul at 1,130 words, or 12.8 percent.

Paul received approximately the same amount of media coverage as Rick Santorum (463 words, 5.3 percent), Michele Bachmann (434 words, 4.9 percent), and Rick Perry 433 words, (4.9 percent).

In the Des Moines Register survey, Paul polled with nearly as much support as Bachmann (8 percent), Perry (6 percent), and Santorum (6 percent) combined.

GOP Candidate Coverage in Prominent Media Outlet Reporting on the Des Moines Register Poll Results

Candidate
Words
Percent
Newt Gingrich
2,807
31.8
Mitt Romney
1,773
20.1
Herman Cain
1,130
12.8
Ron Paul
464
5.3
Rick Santorum
463
5.3
Michele Bachmann
434
4.9
Rick Perry
433
4.9
Jon Huntsman
158
1.8
Other
1,154
13.1
Total
8,816
100.0
Reports analyzed at ABC News, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Business Insider, CBS News, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Daily Beast, The Hill, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, National Review, National Journal, New York Post, New York Times, POLITICO, Reuters, Slate, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Washington Times. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Most of the information in these reports that did discuss Representative Paul were short, straight-forward recitations of his poll results with little analysis of his campaign going forward:

"Texas Rep. Ron Paul has risen into second place...Paul is at 18%." - USA Today

"Texas Rep. Ron Paul placed second with 18 percent." - Washington Times

"...followed by Ron Paul... while Texas congressman Paul had 18 percent." - Associated Press (via Yahoo!)

"With Ron Paul at 18 percent." - POLITICO

Only five of the 23 media outlets devoted at least 10 percent of their coverage of the Iowa poll results to Paul, led by National Review (30.8 percent), Business Insider (20.1 percent), Christian Science Monitor (12.6 percent), Washington Post (11.1 percent), and the New York Times (10.5 percent).

Another 14 outlets spent less than 5 percent of their reporting on the poll on the Texas congressman.

Despite Paul's surge in Iowa, some of these outlets that wrote more than one sentence about the Texas Congressman were quick to diminish his candidacy, with the Christian Science Monitor calling Paul a "libertarian outlier."

Of course, it is understandable the Gingrich vs. Romney storyline would dominate the overall arc of the coverage, given their 1-2 position on the national scene.

However, in a story about Iowans and the caucuses where Paul is positioned to contend, and not about the national race or matchups against the president (Barack Obama was mentioned just nine times in these 20+ reports), it is curious that Paul was not discussed more.

The headlines of these two-dozen reports also tell a similar tale.

With Gingrich mentioned in each of the headlines of these 23 reports, Romney was mentioned in seven and Paul just four.

Bachmann, Perry, and Cain were all mentioned in one headline.

Romney also crushes Paul in terms of the number of times each is mentioned by name or occupation in the body of the articles - more than doubling up on him.

Gingrich was mentioned by name or occupation 134 times in these reports (29.4 percent) followed by Romney at 103 mentions (22.6 percent), Cain at 76 (16.7 percent), and Paul at just 45 (9.9 percent).

Paul's coverage was much closer to that of the bottom tier of Iowa hopefuls - Perry at 28 mentions (6.1 percent), Bachmann and Santorum at 27 each (5.9 percent), and Huntsman at 16 (3.5 percent) than the top tier in which his poll numbers reside.

It should be noted that while the vast majority of media outlets only made passing reference to Paul's numbers, a few outlets wrote at least one substantive sentence about the Texas Congressman and his strong organization in the Hawkeye State. For example:

"That is one area where Mr. Paul is considered strong, and it could help in drawing his supporters out to vote the night of the caucuses." - New York Times

"Probably the most interesting numbers here are Paul's, which suggest that he could well win the Iowa caucuses (he is also considered to have a great on the ground organization in the state)." - National Review

"Ron Paul is the most organized candidate in the state, as reflected by his strong poll showing. Unlike Romney, he has momentum in the polls -- suggesting that if Gingrich's lead collapses, he stands a strong chance of winning the caucuses." - Business Insider

"The poll is also notable for the rise of Paul, who has emerged as a major player in Iowa." - Washington Post

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5 Comments


  • Instead of constantly reporting on Bachmann, Ron Paul, Gringrich, Romney and other Republican whack jobs, why don't you report on President Obama's marvelous speech today on the "make or break" moment for the middle class? Or won't your corporate masters allow you to report on this? Like the obsequious little poodle that you are, you're probably afraid of offending Cargill, 3M, United Health Corp and others who want everything for the 1% and to hell with everybody else.

    Here's the link just in case you screw up your courage to take a peek:
    ttp://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/06/1042930/-Open-thread:-President-Obamas-speech-on-inequality-and-restoring-the-Americanmiddlenbspclass?detail=hide&via=blog_1

  • You honestly think the HHH Institute leans right? MN... as blue of a state as can be... one of the handful of states that voted Mondale in the Reagan landslide. You do know HHH was a Democrat, right? Plus, academia is always more liberal than the general community.

    The simple explanantion for the GOP focus is that the Republicans have a primary, and the Democrats do not. There is more rhetoric to analyze.

    I'm sure you will get to your wish to see more Obama headlines when the GOP picks their candidate and the two parties go head to head.

  • Wow. Completely unprovoked, you show the world your true (pathetic) colors. Get off of your high horse, take a deep breath, and move on.

  • It's a real shame that the media has taken it upon themselves to CHOOSE our candidates FOR US.

    Ron Paul is the opposite of the prototypical lying, cheating, partisan, deficit-spending, world empire-building constitution-ignoring narcissist politician we all constantly complain about. If we continue to play "right versus left" politics in Washington, fail to balance our budget, and continue to allow the gradual installation of a surveillance state, we will deserve the collapse we are about to experience.

  • Ron Paul is the opposite of the prototypical lying, cheating, partisan, deficit-spending, world empire-building constitution-ignoring narcissist politician we all constantly complain about. If we continue to play "right versus left" politics in Washington, fail to balance our budget, and continue to allow the gradual installation of a surveillance state, we will deserve the collapse we are about to experience.

    Doghealthsolutions.blogspot.com

  • Leave a comment


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