These findings from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism will probably surprise few:
During this final week, from October 29 to November 5, positive stories about Obama (29%) outnumbered negative ones (19%) by 10 points. A week earlier, negative coverage of Obama had exceeded positive by 13 points. The final week of the campaign marked only the second time in which positive stories about Obama outnumbered negative dating back to late August.
For Mitt Romney in the final week, the tone of coverage remained largely unchanged from the previous two weeks. Negative stories in the press outnumbered positive ones 33% to 16%.
But Romney may have suffered in final days from the press focusing less on him relative to his opponent. After receiving roughly identical levels of coverage for most of October, in the last week of campaigning Obama was a significant presence in eight out of 10 campaign stories compared with six in 10 for Romney—one of the biggest disparities in any week after Labor Day.
Social media, however, was a different story:
[E]ach of the three major social media platforms offered a different sense of the candidates. On Twitter, for example, the conversation about Romney in the last week was the most positive of any during the general election while Obama’s was basically unchanged. On blogs, it was Obama who saw a surge in favorable conversation. On Facebook, the tenor changed relatively little in the final days. [Pew Research Center’s Project on Excellence in Journalism, November 19]