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Broadcast Media in Love with Republican Governors in 2012

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GOP governors land the Top 10 spots for the most broadcast reports mentioning their names since January, led by Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Rick Scott

rickperry10.jpgA recently released report by Smart Politics found that being an elite 1 of 100 was often not enough for many U.S. Senators to break through the broadcast media - with John McCain and Marco Rubio by far leading the rest of their colleagues and Republican senators overall cited in more than twice as many reports as Democrats.

That partisan disparity in coverage of U.S. Senators, however, seems fair and balanced when stacked up against the distribution of on-air mentions of the nation's 50 governors.

A Smart Politics review of broadcast media transcripts through Lexis/Nexis by ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and NPR for the first six and a half months of 2012 finds that Republican governors have been mentioned in more than six times as many news stories as their Democratic counterparts with the Top 10 slots all held by GOP executives.

The country's 50 governors were mentioned at least once in more than 5,400 news stories across these seven broadcast outlets under analysis.

(Note: This analysis did not code for the type of coverage each governor received (i.e. content) nor is the data weighted by multiple mentions of a governor within a single news story).

The nation's 29 Republican governors were overwhelmingly the focus in stories reported by the broadcast media, with GOPers holding each of the Top 10 slots for an average of 170 reports per governor, compared to an average of just 27 reports per governor for the nation's 20 such Democrats.

That means Republican governors were mentioned in 6.3 times more reports than their Democratic counterparts when weighting for the number of governors from each party.

Leading the way is Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose 2012 presidential bid boosted his media profile substantially - even in the waning days of his campaign.

Perry was mentioned in 1,378 reports during this 6.5-month span, with more than 1,250 of these coming in the first 19 days of January before he exited the GOP race in advance of the South Carolina primary.

The Texas governor still would have landed in the Top 10 and ahead of every Democratic governor even if these stories were excluded (with Republicans overall still enjoying nearly a 5:1 weighted advantage).

In second place is media favorite and oft-rumored vice-presidential pick Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Christie was mentioned in 808 broadcast reports - even besting Wisconsin's Scott Walker who survived a high profile recall election in early June.

Walker was mentioned in 651 reports.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Florida's Rick Scott at #4 with 301 reports, Indiana's Mitch Daniels at #5 (290), South Carolina's Nikki Haley at #6 (281), Arizona's Jan Brewer at #7 (259), Virginia's Bob McDonnell at #8 (230), Louisiana's Bobby Jindal at #9 (167), and Ohio's John Kasich at #10 (113).

Only five Democrats cracked the Top 20, led by California's Jerry Brown at #11 (100 reports), New York's Andrew Cuomo at #12 (81), Massachusetts' Deval Patrick at #13 (80), Maryland's Martin O'Malley at #15 (69), and Colorado's John Hickenlooper at #20 (43).

Interestingly, none of the six gubernatorial incumbents who are running for reelection in 2012 made the Top 30:

· At #33: West Virginia Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin (mentioned in nine reports)
· At #34 (tie): Missouri Democrat Jay Nixon (eight)
· At #39 (tie): North Dakota Republican Jack Dalrymple (six)
· At #39 (tie): Utah Republican Gary Herbert (six)
· At #39 (tie): Vermont Democrat Peter Shumlin (six)
· At #44: Delaware Democrat Jack Markell (four)

The governors with the smallest national media footprint were South Dakota's Dennis Daugaard and Alaska's Sean Parnell - both Republicans - who have not been mentioned in a single report yet this year in the programs tracked by Lexis/Nexis in these seven media outlets.

Republicans Matt Mead of Wyoming and Butch Otter of Idaho were mentioned in just one report with Democrats John Kitzhaber of Oregon and Mike Beebe of Arkansas cited in two reports.

The focus on Republican governors over their Democratic counterparts was pervasive throughout the outlets under analysis with MSNBC demonstrating the biggest disparity on this scale at 15:1, followed by FOX (13:1), ABC (10:1), CNN (9:1), NPR (6:1), NBC (5:1), and CBS (4:1).

Mentions of the 50 State Governors in Broadcast Media Reports, January-July* 2012

Rank
Governor
State
Party
Total
1
Rick Perry
Texas
GOP
1,378
2
Chris Christie
New Jersey
GOP
808
3
Scott Walker
Wisconsin
GOP
651
4
Rick Scott
Florida
GOP
301
5
Mitch Daniels
Indiana
GOP
290
6
Nikki Haley
South Carolina
GOP
281
7
Jan Brewer
Arizona
GOP
259
8
Bob McDonnell
Virginia
GOP
230
9
Bobby Jindal
Louisiana
GOP
167
10
John Kasich
Ohio
GOP
113
11
Jerry Brown
California
Democrat
100
12
Andrew Cuomo
New York
Democrat
81
13
Deval Patrick
Massachusetts
Democrat
80
14
Rick Snyder
Michigan
GOP
72
15
Martin O'Malley
Maryland
Democrat
69
16
Terry Branstad
Iowa
GOP
59
17
Tom Corbett
Pennsylvania
GOP
56
18
Phil Bryant
Mississippi
GOP
51
18
Susana Martinez
New Mexico
GOP
51
20
John Hickenlooper
Colorado
Democrat
43
21
Sam Brownback
Kansas
GOP
35
22
Pat Quinn
Illinois
Democrat
33
23
Brian Sandoval
Nevada
GOP
29
24
Robert Bentley
Alabama
GOP
25
25
Brian Schweitzer
Montana
Democrat
23
26
Christine Gregoire
Washington
Democrat
23
27
Paul LePage
Maine
GOP
18
28
Nathan Deal
Georgia
GOP
16
29
Beverly Perdue
North Carolina
Democrat
14
30
John Lynch
New Hampshire
Democrat
13
31
Mary Fallin
Oklahoma
GOP
12
32
Dave Heineman
Nebraska
GOP
11
33
Earl Ray Tomblin
West Virginia
Democrat
9
34
Steve Beshear
Kentucky
Democrat
8
34
Jay Nixon
Missouri
Democrat
8
36
Bill Haslam
Tennessee
GOP
7
37
Mark Dayton
Minnesota
Democrat
7
37
Dan Malloy
Connecticut
Democrat
7
39
Jack Dalrymple
North Dakota
GOP
6
39
Gary Herbert
Utah
GOP
6
39
Peter Shumlin
Vermont
Democrat
6
42
Lincoln Chafee
Rhode Island
Indep.
5
42
Neil Abercrombie
Hawaii
Democrat
5
44
Jack Markell
Delaware
Democrat
4
45
Mike Beebe
Arkansas
Democrat
2
45
John Kitzhaber
Oregon
Democrat
2
47
Butch Otter
Idaho
GOP
1
47
Matt Mead
Wyoming
GOP
1
49
Sean Parnell
Alaska
GOP
0
49
Dennis Daugaard
South Dakota
GOP
0
* Through July 14, 2012. Table compiled by Smart Politics with data culled from Lexis/Nexis news transcripts of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and NPR. Note: Not all MSNBC news programs are indexed by Lexis/Nexis.

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