Hero image of Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren

To continue our political media monitoring and tracking of the US Democratic Party presidential primaries and our June update, here we track and analyse media coverage for the major democratic candidates in the month of July.

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), we have tracked every time the candidates are referred to in the media throughout July. As the race is moving on, this month we are expanding our index. We’ve conducted a deep-dive into media coverage in Iowa, where the first of the Democratic caucuses and primaries will take place.

The race so far

Names January February March April May June July Total
1 Joe Biden 35,013 39,503 86,798 222,381 141,761 250,201 158,245 933,902
2 Bernie Sanders 62,561 102,206 114,354 152,935 96,134 165,180 143,669 837,039
3 Elizabeth Warren 72,760 87,679 72,659 81,153 69,239 137,657 123,858 645,005
4 Kamala Harris 56,003 65,809 44,803 50,007 48,010 90,669 97,653 452,954
5 Cory Booker 17,824 58,604 35,835 35,361 34,522 74,253 44,848 301,247
6 Beto O’Rourke 14,532 24,821 63,706 37,240 24,371 57,457 36,055 258,182
7 Pete Buttigieg 4,542 6,262 14,062 54,390 41,685 66,061 49,080 236,082
8 Bill de Blasio 15,433 23,498 15,422 18,691 29,261 49,048 43,725 195,078
9 Amy Klobuchar 12,142 37,552 28,557 24,447 23,070 38,680 27,130 191,578
10 Kirsten Gillibrand 29,258 32,835 28,133 20,145 19,479 31,705 22,976 184,531
11 Julian Castro 19,727 10,266 10,418 11,036 9,514 35,399 26,836 123,196
12 Jay Inslee 9,938 9,225 21,534 17,031 19,187 27,220 14,410 118,545
13 Tulsi Gabbard 16,963 11,781 8,241 7,001 6,385 19,845 12,815 83,031
14 John Hickenlooper 3,681 3,310 19,139 7,988 7,860 20,847 18,792 81,617
15 Eric Swalwell 2,769 3,594 4,604 12,633 8,722 22,127 16,120 70,569
16 John Delaney 6,013 4,009 8,074 6,139 3,850 20,880 18,722 67,687
17 Tim Ryan 3,809 2,694 2,666 12,096 4,959 18,550 15,371 60,145
18 Steve Bullock 3,118 2,806 2,835 2,972 12,152 12,059 19,508 55,450
19 Michael Bennet 3,516 3,009 3,102 4,116 10,658 16,385 10,806 51,592
20 Andrew Yang 1,349 1,862 5,106 8,003 5,443 16,972 10,635 49,370
21 Marianne Williamson 553 1,593 1,651 3,055 3,184 16,701 19,460 46,197
22 Seth Moulton 1,125 1,252 1,541 8,460 6,111 9,555 6,884 34,928
23 Wayne Messam 32 58 1,142 1,504 1,585 4,528 1,569 10,418
24 Mike Gravel 74 66 432 815 1,164 2,652 1,479 6,682

Space

Democrat Total 392,735 534,294 594,814 799,599 628,306 1,204,631 940,646 5,095,025

Space

Donald Trump 1,796,907 1,692,777 1,512,986 1,402,007 1,779,760 2,090,901 1,910,007 12,185,345

July

July saw less coverage on the primaries than June (around 75% of June’s total).

Names

July

1 Joe Biden 158,245
2 Bernie Sanders 143,669
3 Elizabeth Warren 123,858
4 Kamala Harris 97,653
5 (+1) Pete Buttigieg 49,080
6 (-1) Cory Booker 44,848
7 (+1) Bill de Blasio 43,725
8 (-1) Beto O’Rourke 36,055
9 Amy Klobuchar 27,130
10 Julian Castro 26,836

Iowa

We have tracked the coverage of the candidates in 45 Iowan news sources. We analysed the number of pieces each candidate is in, the number of unique references to each candidate, and the sentiment towards each candidate in every news piece they appear in.

For an explanation of our methodology in examining sentiment, and a list of the 45 outlets examined, see below.

Graph depicting coverage of the Democratic candidates in Iowa

Following the dramatic spike in coverage of Kamala Harris in June, we wanted to investigate her prominence in the media in Iowa. While she is a close fourth in the US as a whole, the data from Iowa suggests that until recently she has been lagging behind Biden, Sanders and Warren.

Additionally, Elizabeth Warren was in the lead alongside Sanders and Biden in Iowa. However, she hasn’t been able to sustain this. The articles that she has been appearing in mention her less often than other top candidates. (See below in the comparison of total mentions to total number of articles.)

The last two months have been seen Biden and Sanders jostling for the top spot. But in the wake of the July debates Sanders has over taken Biden.

This data is available upon request, simply email [email protected].

Graph depicting total mentions and articles

Sentiment

Graph depicting sentiment in Iowan news pieces

When analysing the sentiment of news coverage in Iowa, it suggests that Biden is the most divisive candidate. When compared to coverage of Sanders and Warren, a similar number of articles reflect on him positively. However, significantly more bear negative sentiment towards him.

In fact, almost 12% of articles towards Biden were negative. This is significantly more than the next candidate, Hickenlooper, with just over 7%.

Candidates with an exceptionally high portion of positive coverage include Bullock and Castro. Moulton and Tang were the only candidates with more negative coverage than positive.

Sentiment Methodology

Signal AI’s sentiment model assesses sentiment at the ‘entity’ level. This means it is able to detect sentiment for more than one organisation, person, or location in the same article. For this project, our AI has been trained to recognise the candidates as entities. For more information on what an entity is see here.

Our AI seeks to recognise words or phrases against a dictionary built by our researchers based on state-of-the-art linguistics research. Each word or phrase in the dictionary has a sentiment ‘intensity’ attached to it, on a scale of -1 to +1. The AI also negates double negative sentiment (for example, “not bad” is seen as a positive phrase) and overrides known colloquialisms (“that’s sick” becomes positive).

Sentiment from each individual word/phrase is combined to give the article an overall sentiment score for each entity based on its mentions, where:

  • 1 negative mention renders the whole article negative for that entity.
  • 1 positive and 0 negative mentions renders the whole article positive for that entity.
  • No positive or negative mentions renders the whole article neutral for that entity.

Iowan source list

  • ABC – 8 WQAD
  • Boone News-Republican
  • Britt News Tribune
  • Clarinda Herald-Journal
  • Daily Democrat
  • Daily Gate City
  • Daily Iowan
  • Daily Iowegian & Ad Express
  • Dallas County News
  • Denison Bulletin & Review
  • Des Moines Business Record
  • Des Moines Cityview
  • Des Moines Register
  • Explore SEiowa.com
  • Forest City Summit
  • Fort Dodge Messenger
  • Globe Gazette
  • Hamburg Reporter
  • Iowa City Press-Citizen
  • Iowa Economic Dev
  • Iowa Farm Bureau
  • Iowa Farmer Today
  • Iowa Hawkeye Sports
  • Iowa Senate Democratic Caucus
  • Iowa State Daily
  • Iowapublicradio.org
  • Kalona News
  • Muscatine Journal
  • NBC – 13 WHO
  • Nevada Journal
  • Osceola Sentinel-Tribune
  • Ottumwa Courier
  • Radio Iowa
  • Sioux City Journal
  • Siouxland Matters
  • Telegraph Herald
  • The Daily Nonpareil
  • The Des Moines Register
  • The Gazette
  • The Quad-City Times
  • The Tribune
  • Tri-County Times
  • Valley News Today
  • Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
  • WeAreIowa.co

Image Source: Cropped use of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada (27 April 2019), by Gage Skidmore via flickr.com.

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