August 19, 2008

Obama Garnering 38% More Media Coverage Than McCain This Summer, But Tone of Coverage for Both Candidates is Nearly Identical, According to New Data From LexisNexis(R)

In the past six weeks leading up to the two major U.S. political parties' national conventions, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was the subject of 38 percent more media coverage in the United States than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but the tone of each presidential candidate's coverage was remarkably similar during that same timeframe, according to the LexisNexis(R) Analytics Media Coverage Sentiment Index.

Coverage Data & Analysis

An evaluation of the 17,455 stories that discussed Sen. Obama during the period of July 7th to August 17th in U.S. print, broadcast and online media outlets found that 34% of the coverage was positive, 35% was neutral and 31% was negative. Of the 12,665 stories that discussed Sen. McCain during the same time frame and in the same universe of U.S. media outlets, 33% were positive, 34% were neutral and 33% were negative.

The findings support the assumption made by many U.S. political observers that Sen. Obama's campaign is attracting an unprecedented amount of media attention this year. On the other hand, they appear to provide an empirical evidence data point to refute claims by each political party that the tone of the pre-election media coverage is decidedly biased in one direction or the other.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To obtain "camera-ready" week-by-week charts of the LexisNexis Media Coverage Sentiment Index for attributed publication, please send an email request to [email protected]

Calculating Coverage Sentiment

The LexisNexis Media Coverage Sentiment Index relies on sophisticated analytics that have been used by LexisNexis in business applications since 1995. The system detects patterns within the text of news articles and, based on those patterns, applies a scientific algorithm to assign a positive, neutral or negative sentiment to each article. The media sample for the index was created from a collection of more than 2,700 media outlets that includes virtually all major newspapers, magazines, Web sites, television and radio networks in the United States.

The LexisNexis Media Coverage Sentiment Index was created by LexisNexis with the use of its data analytics tools and is one of four tracking benchmarks offered to the news media this campaign season. Data announced today are the first in a series of media coverage measurements LexisNexis will track and release during the conventions and fall campaign period.

"In addition to tracking media coverage sentiment by candidate, our 2008 Election Dashboard also tracks which U.S. political issues are most frequently covered by the news media and the volume of presidential candidate coverage by media type," said Renee Citera, vice president and managing director of research for LexisNexis. "These benchmarking indices from LexisNexis Analytics are examples of media analysis tools that news organizations and international corporations can use to enhance their business intelligence and inform their decision making."

LexisNexis Analytics brings together content, technology and services to help organizations assess media trends and gain strategic insights.

About LexisNexis

LexisNexis(R) ( is a leading global provider of business information solutions to a wide range of professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis(R) and Nexis(R) services. A member of Reed Elsevier (NYSE:ENL)(NYSE:RUK) (, LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 13,000 employees worldwide.