Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pro-Bama Media Bias May Mobilize Republican Enthusiasm

Gallup reports that John McCain may ultimately benefit from Barack Obama's overseas trip last week.

It turns out that public opinion, especially among Republicans, is reacting negatively to the aggressive media coverage of Obama's world tour:

Obama Media

John McCain benefit from Barack Obama's much-publicized foreign trip? Several observations from the just-completed USA Today/Gallup poll suggest that this is a possibility....

The heavy coverage of the trip may have fueled speculation (or reinforced pre-existing attitudes) about news media bias in Obama's favor. A separate set of questions in the weekend poll asked Americans about their views of the news media's coverage of the two major-party candidates. Americans are more than twice as likely to say media coverage of Obama is unfairly positive as to say it is unfairly negative. For McCain, the opposite is true, with many more seeing coverage of him as unfairly negative than as unfairly positive.

The differences in views of the media are enormous between those who are voting for McCain and those voting for Obama. In general, McCain voters largely believe their candidate is being treated unfairly while Obama is getting overly friendly media coverage. In turn, Obama voters tend to view the media coverage of both candidates as even-handed....

The media's coverage of Obama's foreign trip, coupled with a strong reaction from McCain and other conservatives, may have created the seemingly paradoxical effect of increasing Republicans' energy and excitement about voting for McCain. If this is the case, the degree to which this is short-term versus long-term is still not clear.
My feeling is that conservative outrage at media favoritism toward Obama will be lasting.

Just yesterday liberal
Frank Rich at the New York Times suggested that Obama is now the "acting president" and that, in fact, the media's really giving John McCain a "free pass."

Thus, it's entirely likely that we'll see lingering conservative resentment, as more and more of such coverage looks to annoint Obama presumptuously.

Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen capture the essence of this in their essay, "
The Campaign is All About Obama":

If you were to make a movie about the general election campaign so far, John McCain would be a supporting actor.

Despite vulnerabilities that have kept the race closer in polls than most analysts expected — and McCain even jumped to a 4-percentage-point lead among likely voters in a USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday —
Barack Obama dominates the race by virtually any other measure. He is dictating the agenda and soaking up news coverage as McCain and his team scramble to react.
As Martin and Allen observe, however, the race remains entirely within McCain's grasp. The key will be for the McCain camp to hone-in on an effective campaign message to drive the battle on the hustings until November.

Fortunately, with McCain's "
Troops" ad buy last weekend, we're seeing a turnaround in the McCain organization toward a more forthright aggressivness, and this shift may provide the focus to increase Obama's negatives and sow doubt among an electorate ready for change but hestitant about the acession of oppositional values and untried leadership to the Oval Office.

Graphic Credit: Gallup