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Romney, Obama, and Politics: 'Relentlessly Negative' Social Media; Video-Sharing Trends

November 6, 2012
  |  7,307 views

From the conventions to the eve of the final presidential debate, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have received more negative than positive coverage from the mainstream news media, but social media—particularly Twitter—has been even harsher, according to a report by Pew Research.

For example, from August 27 to October 21, 2012, 62% of the narratives about Mitt Romney published via Facebook were negative in tone, compared with 38% of those published via the mainstream media. Discussions about President Obama via Facebook were negative 53% of the time, whereas those in the mainstream media were negative about 30% of the time.

Below, additional findings from "Winning the Media Campaign 2012," by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Twitter generated the most negative content. "Every week on Twitter resembled the worst week for each candidate in the mainstream press," Pew wrote.


Negative Twitter discussions about Romney outpaced positive ones some 42 percentage points over the eight-week study period. For Obama, negative messages outnumbered positive ones by 20 points.

In social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and blogs), the narrative about both men has been "relentlessly negative" and relatively unmoved by campaign events that have shifted the mainstream narrative, Pew found.

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