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Why newspapers were a bit slow to respond to Layton’s big surge

‘It’s possible they thought the first poll was an anomaly’


 

Jack Layton made history last week when a CROP poll showed the NDP in first place in Quebec. It was the kind of shift that would surely alter media coverage overnight (and the results of his Federal Election Newspaper Analysis along with it), thought McGill University political scientist Stuart Soroka. “I thought Layton was going to spike in the volume of coverage and that the coverage was going to be more positive,” says Soroka, who has been crunching his numbers for Maclean’s each week. But his usual analysis, which captured 665 stories written from April 18 to April 24, showed only tiny increases for Layton. He was baffled.

But the results for Easter Sunday and Monday showed a clear shift. “The media was just slow to adjust,” says Soroka. “It’s possible they thought the first poll was an anomaly.” On Sunday and Monday, Layton’s share of “first mentions” (a tally of how often a leader’s name comes first in a story) doubled from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. While Ignatieff was up a tiny bit over the previous week—from 19 per cent to 21 per cent—Harper lost the most, falling from 66 per cent to 55 per cent.

The “net tone” results (more positive words near a leader’s name in articles equates to a higher score) also show an initially slow, but then sudden shift in favour of Layton. All three English party leaders earned slightly more negative press last week, but on Sunday and Monday, the media turned on Harper and Ignatieff. Harper’s net tone score dove from 0.77 last week to 0.54. Ignatieff plummeted from 0.84 to 0.49. Layton, on the other hand, improved from 1.27 to 1.55.

More telling is the sheer number of times Layton’s name appeared in print on Sunday and Monday. He went from 0.5 mentions to 1.2 per article, tying him with Ignatieff for the first time. And though he still trails Harper, who’s at 1.9 per article, Layton is suddenly impossible to ignore.


 

Why newspapers were a bit slow to respond to Layton’s big surge

  1. The NDP's budget has a Cap and Trade Carbon Tax that will devastate Canada's economy.

    Jack Layton has refused to take any serious questions about it.

    The NDP candidates know nothing about it. Some of them are still off on vacation in Mexico and Los Vegas, hoping to come back to a cushy government job.

    Lets face it. The NDP is a fuzzy feel good party with no real concept of managing money or an economy.

    NDP'ers they want to have their cake, and eat yours too.

    • Can't believe this kind of comments. Cnds are not idiots, they certainly prefer a positive message to negative ads from the CONs. The world will be in crisis if the CONS are not elected to govern, this is nonsense. CONS have shown us in the last five years that they can't govern with respecting the majority of parliament which represented 63% of the population.

      Even worst the CONS were elected by only 23% of the registered voters. Very little support from the registered voters to try to govern as if you were supported by a mojority of registerd voters. Wake up Cnds want a different approach to gov't and are prepared to make by changes to get what they want and show our politicians that they are in charge of their future.

    • Somebody's going to wear out their copy-and-paste functions on their computer soon.

      Weak sauce.

    • Hey Open-Eyes…open your eyes! no, on second though…shut your mouth!

    • Too bad he is unable to come up with any new mut to throw

  2. Hey open eyes, quit cutting and pasting off the Tory web site.

  3. Open-Eyes is on every site, pasting his little heart out. Poor dear.

  4. EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT LAYTON AND WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM. NOBODY BOTHERS TO TALK ABOUT HARPER AND THE $30 BILLION BILL FOR JETS THAT AMOUNTS TO ABOUT $1000.00 PER EACH AND EVERY CANADIAN MAN WOMAN AND CHILD..
    PERSONALLY I WORRY ABOUT GIVING HARPER ANY JETS, LOOK AT GADAFI AND WHAT HE USED HIS JETS FOR AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF LIBYA!
    WAS HIS G20 JUST A PREVIEW OF THINGS TO COME?

    • Well yes…but you don't have to yell.

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