More People See Hillary in the News Than Any GOP Presidential Candidate

Tired of seeing Hillary Clinton in virtually every political media report?

Well, that's not surprising, for according to a new Pew Research Center poll, the junior senator from New York was named by 42 percent of respondents as being the candidate "heard the MOST about in the news lately."

The next nearest was Barack Obama, who was named 22 percent of the time.

By contrast, the top Republican candidates - John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and the not yet announced Fred Thompson - were each only named by two percent of the respondents.

As reported in the poll summary (emphasis added, grateful h/t to unknown e-mailer):

Democratic candidates continue to have a clear advantage over Republican candidates in terms of visibility. When asked which candidates they have been hearing the most about in the news recently, 67% of the public named a Democrat while only 8% named a Republican. Even Republicans themselves name Democratic candidates more readily than GOP candidates by a better than two-to-one margin (54% name a Democratic candidate, 21% name a GOP candidate).

Hillary Clinton leads the pack as the candidate Americans have heard the most about in the news lately. More than four-in-ten (42%) name Clinton, while 22% name Barack Obama. Only 2% name John Edwards. The gap between Clinton and Obama has widened since last month when Clinton was named by 32% of the public and Obama by 20%.

Think this might be helping Clinton's campaign to be perceived as getting twice the amount of press coverage as her closest Democrat competitor?

Now, look at how much the public perceives Republican candidates are being covered:

The major Republican presidential candidates remain at the periphery: John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson were each named by only 2% of the public.

Yet, the public's view is not totally supported by the facts, as the actual coverage has not been anywhere near as lopsided:

For the month of June, 43% of the campaign coverage on national news outlets focused on Democratic candidates, 34% focused on Republicans (another 9% focused on both parties).

As the summary explained, this could be due to Republican voters' current apathy regarding the campaign. After all, Election Day is still more than fifteen months away:

Not only are Republican candidates lagging behind in terms of visibility, GOP loyalists are less engaged in the campaign and more critical of campaign coverage. Throughout the year, Democrats have consistently paid closer attention than Republicans to campaign news. In addition, Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to believe the presidential campaign is being over-covered by the media. Four-in-ten Republicans say news organizations are giving too much coverage to the campaign. Only 19% of Democrats feel the same way. Among Democrats, a majority (56%) say news organizations are giving the right amount of coverage to the campaign, and one-in-five say they are giving it too little coverage. Independents are closer to Republicans in their views about campaign coverage - 37% say the campaign is receiving too much coverage, 21% say it's getting too little coverage, and 34% say the coverage has been about right.

Something the poll and the summary didn't address was the possibility that the public's perception of coverage has something to do with the reports' positive or negative view of the candidate in question. It is, after all, possible that the public perceives Democrats and Clinton getting more coverage because reports about them are more favorable than those dealing with GOP candidates.

This certainly bears watching as the elections draw closer.

Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]


Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.


Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential
Noel Sheppard's picture