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Which Democratic Presidential Candidate Was Mentioned Most On Cable News Last Week?

The news media cranked up the dial on Democratic primary campaign coverage last week. According to data from the TV News Archive, which splits TV news into 15-second clips,1 the three cable news networks we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — collectively mentioned the candidates’ full names in 6,114 clips last week.2 That’s a 72 percent increase from the previous week, when the candidates were mentioned 3,547 times.

Nearly every candidate was mentioned more often last week

How often each Democratic candidate was mentioned each week in news programming on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, counted by the number of 15-second clips that include each person’s full name

Number of Clips
Candidate Week of June 2 Week of June 9
Joe Biden 1,706
2,642
Bernie Sanders 341
894
Elizabeth Warren 414
782
Pete Buttigieg 191
366
Kamala Harris 194
333
Beto O’Rourke 92
209
Cory Booker 129
144
Bill de Blasio 42
92
Amy Klobuchar 40
85
Kirsten Gillibrand 89
83
Julian Castro 9
75
Steve Bullock 12
66
Eric Swalwell 44
53
John Hickenlooper 63
46
Tim Ryan 36
43
Andrew Yang 5
42
Seth Moulton 47
38
John Delaney 45
30
Jay Inslee 18
29
Michael Bennet 18
24
Marianne Williamson 11
21
Tulsi Gabbard 1
9
Mike Gravel 0 8
3,547
6,114

Includes all candidates that qualify as “major” in FiveThirtyEight’s rubric. Each network’s daily news coverage is chopped up into 15-second clips, and each clip that includes a candidate’s first and last name (found by running a search seeking an exact match for the name) is counted as one mention.

Source: Internet Archive’s Television News Archive via the GDELT Project

Joe Biden has commanded much of the attention ever since he declared his candidacy, and that didn’t change last week. While their rankings have changed a bit from week to week, the same five candidates (Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg) have been at the top of the most-mentioned list every week since early May. As we head into the first Democratic primary debates, we’ll be watching to see if anyone else can break into that group, so stay tuned!

Check out the data behind this series and check back each week for an update on which candidates are getting the most coverage on cable news.

Footnotes

  1. The TV News Archive measures coverage by splitting CNN, Fox News and MSNBC’s daily news footage into 15-second clips and finding the clips that contain a mention of our search query. Our search queries are the full names of each candidate. The GDELT Television API, which processes the data from the TV News Archive, measures a week of coverage from Sunday through Saturday. The cutoff for measuring coverage for any given day is midnight Eastern Standard Time. (Clock changes for Daylight Saving Time are ignored.)

  2. If the same candidate was mentioned twice in the same 15-second clip, it counted as one entry. If two candidates were mentioned in the same clip, it counted as two entries.

Dhrumil Mehta is a database journalist at FiveThirtyEight focusing on politics.

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