Dow Jones Insight—2008 Presidential Election Media Pulse: Red States vs. Blue States

Much of the 2004 election coverage focused on the the differing concerns and electorates of "red" states and "blue" states, those considered to be solidly Republican or Democratic. So, Dow Jones Insight took a look at how the coverage by mainstream media in those states differed on some of the more controversial domestic "wedge" issues: the environment, same-sex marriage, immigration, abortion, and faith.

Much of the 2004 election coverage focused on the differing concerns and electorates of "red" states and "blue" states, those considered to be solidly Republican or Democratic. So, Dow Jones Insight took a look at how the coverage by mainstream media in those states differed on some of the more controversial domestic “wedge” issues: the environment, same-sex marriage, immigration, abortion, and faith. While the results showed that the coverage had more similarities than differences– on the issue of faith, in particular – there were a few key areas where coverage levels between the two groups varied, in expected ways.

-Blue states had more coverage about the environment: 20% of total coverage for all candidates on the five wedge issues versus 18% in the Red States press

-Blue states had more coverage of same-sex marriage: 3% of total coverage on the issues versus 2% in the Red States press.

-Red States, meanwhile, had higher coverage on immigration (13% of all wedge issue coverage in Red States versus 11% in Blue) and abortion (6% versus 5%).

-Faith was virtually equal, with Red States at 61% and Blue States at 60% on high volumes relative to the other issues.

-The most noticeable differences overall both involved McCain, who had higher coverage on immigration in the Red States' press (20% of his total coverage on the five issues in Red States versus 18% in Blue), and higher coverage on same-sex marriage in Blue States (4% of all McCain coverage on the five issues versus 3%).

The Dow Jones Insight—2008 Presidential Election Media Pulse tracks four key areas of media coverage related to the election, as reported across traditional and social media sources, including: coverage of key issues by party, issue ownership by party, coverage of policies by media type, and share of voice analysis.

The Dow Jones Insight—2008 Presidential Election Media Pulse provides a view of a competitive media landscape and demonstrates how candidates and issues are covered in the media and how that coverage changes over time* Blue States are defined as those that were carried by the Democrats in all four of the most recent presidential elections. Blue State mentions in the charts above reflect mentions in press from: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Red States are defined as those that were carried by the GOP in all four of the most recent presidential elections. Red State mentions in the charts above reflect mentions in press from: Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. The platform processes nearly a million articles, Web pages, blogs and message board posts per day.

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