After the third Democratic primary debate in Houston last week, former Vice President Joe Biden was still the most-mentioned candidate in both cable and online news, according to data from the TV News Archive1 and Media Cloud.2 But it was Sen. Elizabeth Warren who had the largest gains in media mentions compared with the previous week. Warren also got a boost in a FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel, where she saw the biggest increase in voters who were considering voting for her after the debate.
|Cable TV clips the week of …||online stories the week of …|
|Bill de Blasio||3.7||0.1||-3.6||5.5||4.9||-0.7|
While Warren took the No. 2 spot in media mentions for the week (which includes the days leading up to the debate), if we look only at data from the two full days of coverage after the debate ended,3 former Rep. Beto O’Rourke was mentioned in more in 15-second cable news clips than Warren across the three channels we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. During the debate, O’Rourke said “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.” Those comments loomed large in the media coverage of the debate: 38 percent of 15-second cable news clips that mentioned O’Rourke during that time also mentioned “gun” or “guns,” making it the most mentioned word in clips that talked about O’Rourke.4
Biden was still mentioned in more than twice as many cable news clips as O’Rourke in the two days after the debate, though. Unlike after the first debate, when Sen. Kamala Harris came very close to matching Biden’s share of media mentions, the data so far doesn’t show that any other candidate substantially challenging Biden’s hegemony in cable news.