Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Free-for-All 2008: Announcements, Announcements, Announcements

Announcements, announcements, announcements,
A terrible death to die, terrible death to die,
A terrible death to be talked to death,
A terrible death to die
Announcements, announcements, announcements,
Ohhh...
Is there any part of the American political process more inane than campaign announcements. The entire purpose of the exercise is to generate news ex nihilo and promote name recognition. In other words, they're all messing with my statistics!

Of course, the media isn't entirely credulous, and such "announced" candidates as Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter barely make a blip in the news. Of course, Paul, Hunter, and a bunch of other "who's?" are from the Republican side, which leads to the most interesting result of the chatter rankings this month. Ignore the status changes this month - those are deceiving - look instead at the absolute numbers. Last month, there were 13 GOP and 14 Dems over 600 chatter; this month there are 8 and 12, respectively. Likewise, 10 GOP and 11 Dems scored over 1,000 last month, this month there are 6 and 10. So Democrat numbers are down slightly, and GOP numbers are down sharply.

Why aren't the parties following the same trajectory? Is this an example of media bias? Plenty of Republicans have declared candidacy, or mulled it openly; there's no particular reason Democrat Tom Vilsack should have almost five times as many hits as Republicans Mike Huckabee or Duncan Hunter.

There is media bias at work here, but it's not - directly - bias against conservatives. Rather, it's the bias of covering and mentioning candidates with high name recognition. The Democrats do better in a period of "discretionary coverage" because they have better-established candidates. There's also feedback in this system: the media favors attractive left-of-center candidates, so they get better name recognition, so they're favored by the media, etc. This works as much (actually more) within the Republican camp as between the parties. After all, the papers have to think about both primaries, and they can't get Al Gore or Chris Dodd to run in the GOP. But they can lavish attention on McCain, Giuliani, Pataki and others who make for softer sound bites.

Obviously, there's a lot more going on in the rankings in general, and in any particular month, than a marginal phenomenon like media bias can account for, but clearly the choices of editors are writers are an influential part of what we observe as media chatter.

The monthly prediction...
Jan '07: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Dec '06: Clinton & Obama over McCain & Giuliani
Nov '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Oct '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Sep '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Aug '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Jul '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Jun '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
May '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Apr '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Mar '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice
Feb '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice

Rank Candidate ChatterRank Change
R.1 Sen. John McCain 6,7180
R.2 Gov. Mitt Romney 3,6450
R.3 Secy. Condoleezza Rice 3,141+3
R.4 Rudy Giuliani 2,975-1
R.5 Sen. Chuck Hagel 1,394+6
R.6 Sen. Sam Brownback 1,321-1
R.7 Sen. George Allen 792+5
R.8 Gov. George Pataki 756+2
R.9 Newt Gingrich 5230
R.10 (tie) Gov. Mike Huckabee 406-3
R.10 (tie) Rep. Duncan Hunter 406-2
R.12 Rep. Tom Tancredo 390+3* (new)
R.13 Tommy Thompson 3020
R.14 Sen. Bill Frist 290-10
R.15 Gov. Jeb Bush 173-1
....................................................................................................
D.1 Sen. Hillary Clinton 6,0470
D.2 Sen. Barack Obama 5,8180
D.3 Sen. John Kerry 4,4400
D.4 Sen. John Edwards 3,9150
D.5 Sen. Joseph Biden 3,311+2
D.6 Sen. Harry Reid 2,7370
D.7 Sen. Christopher Dodd 2,171+3
D.8 Gov. Tom Vilsack 1,970-3
D.9 Gov. Bill Richardson 1,7590
D.10 Al Gore 1,053+1
D.11 Howard Dean 992+1
D.12 Sen. Evan Bayh 731-4
D.13 Wesley Clark 316+2
D.14 Sen. Russ Feingold 312-1
D.15 Gov. Mark Warner 310-1

Notes: The Chatter Rankings are created by searching each candidate's name plus "2008" in the Google News database. This month tested but not qualifying are Ron Paul and Al Sharpton.

See new graphs of the Chatter Rankings plus Chatter Rankings from December 2006, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, December 2005, August, July, June, and May.

8 comments:

Chops said...

An additional reason for better coverage of Democrats this month is the entire circus surrounding Obama; that creates a lot of articles discussing the Democratic primary.

But that still doesn't explain why non-candidate Evan Bayh is making more news about 2008 than five announced Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Let's just say McCain and Giuliani wouldn't be getting my vote.

ali baba

Chops said...

Even if they're facing off with Hillary and Obama?

Anonymous said...

Supreme Court justices and social issues are now the only two reasons to support Republican candidates at the moment. George Bush's years in office have proved that only a small subset of the republican party is truly conservative in a meaningful sense anymore. I challenge you to name two truly conservative things George Bush has done other than getting Alito and Roberts on the court.

If that is all we get out of a president who is much more conservative than either McCain or Giuliani, I'm really not sure why I'm a republican any more. Add to that sad state of affairs that McCain is emotionally unstable and has a thinly disguised disdain/ borderline-hatred for anyone who is a Christian and is involved in politics and that describing Giuliani as socially conservative doesn't even pass the laugh test, I'm not sure why I'd want to vote Republican.

I understand that they'd still be better than mr. non-baby boomer/Mrs. antichrist but, I'm not going to lie, eventually I'm going to get fed up with the crap the GOP is expecting me to vote for and spit it back in their face. I'm just saying it may happen in 2008 or it may happen later. But it's going to happen sometime.

ali baba

Anonymous said...

Oh, two other things I forgot. First, Bill Clinton's return to the whitehouse has an unbievalbe comedic upside. I'm rooting for a crack/stripper binge during Hillary's first foreign trip.

Second, www.Evangelicalsformitt.com

ali baba

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