Local media coverage and why people vote the way they do

In Thomas Baldino’s of Wilkes University’s review of  Andrew Gelman’s Red State, Blue State, Rich State, PoorState: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do, he summarizes that a voting paradox “is lost on the media’s talking heads because they focus only on the state-level data, leading them (voters) to the simplistic red-blue paradigm.” In his book, Gelman also finds that this media-voter relationship holds on a country level as well.

In a recent analysis of media coverage surrounding “primary run-off”, the Critical Mention platform uncovered that local television stations, and nationally reaching social networks (Twitter), correlate in election coverage. In recent media coverage, local television mentions (149) exceeded the total number of tweets (131) in the same 30-day time period. Continued analysis, and real-time media data, may provide insight and continue to prove the theories found in Gelman’s book.

Using Topsy’s Twitter Analytics tool, a 30-day search for “primary run-off” uncovered 131 total tweets.

 

primary-run-off

primary-run-off-tv

 

The total number of mentions by Nielsen DMA (designated market area):

 

Houston, TX

15

Shreveport, LA

15

Austin, TX

14

Victoria, TX

14

Waco, TX

10

Abilene, TX

9

El Paso, TX

9

Dallas, TX

8

Odessa, TX

8

Harlingen, TX

6

Amarillo, TX

4

Beaumont, TX

4

Corpus Christi, TX

4

Wichita Falls, TX

3

Birmingham, AL

2

Augusta, GA

1

Evansville, IN

1

Greensboro, NC

1

Monroe, LA

1

National Programming

1

 

With more than 90% of primary run-off coverage originating in Texas, a closer look at the closed-captioning text reveals that coverage is centered around David Stout, who is running in the May 27th Democratic Primary run-off for County Commissioner, Precinct 2, against Sergio Lewis.

Spikes in media coverage focus on David Stout, a current aide to El Paso State Senator Jose Rodriguez, who was placed on unpaid leave May 7, 2014. El Paso’s ABC-7 investigated Stout’s attendance after he made a campaign issue of his opponent, Sergio Lewis’s attendance. After the investigation, local stations continued to cover the story and the primary run-off, which is scheduled for May 27th.

Stout is no stranger to media campaigns, and according to the El Paso Times, “previously worked as a reporter for Univision in El Paso and as an executive producer/reporter for Telemundo in Oklahoma.”

The El Paso Times also reports that “Lewis raised a combined total of about $24,372 in campaign contributions, according to his campaign contributions reports. Stout raised $9,544 in campaign contributions, according to his campaign contribution reports.”

With a total local TV audience values of more than 3 million, according to Nielsen estimates, and a local TV publicity value of more than $100,000, the total earned media coverage could far exceed campaign contributions. This earned media coverage for the past 30 days could sway voters and influence the upcoming run-off.

 

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