April 13th 2019
Besides Michigan, probably the most important close state for Democrats in 2020 will be Wisconsin. Florida, yes, but it’s not highly correlated with a regional block. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, with Iowa to some extent because of its early impact, simply matter a lot these days. At least for those who actually want to win, rather than be put on a ticket for VP, or are positioning for 2024, Cabinet Secretary, etc.
So who is getting the most attention in Wisconsin? Without doing a recency restriction, and without including national media that have high impact in Wisconsin, we can look at top-five mention counts for some hopefuls. One can also fuss over how much a feature mention counts vs. an also-listed mention, and whether teaser titles in related articles count as fractional mentions.
One way to cut through noise is to look at order stats. People seem to forget that order stats are quite robust this way. So we take the median of the top-five, i.e., the number three top mention count. And we rank on that. Actually, all five top mention counts, for dedicated Wisconsin media, are charted here. Mr. O’Rourke, for example, has a high count at one media outlet. But that’s an aberration. More important is his robust high count across media outlets: his #5 top score is highest among all contenders.
Media mentions are not all that matter, and it isn’t a horse race of course of course. But if you’re not getting mentioned in Wisconsin, even if you are getting mentioned in Iowa, that may be a problem down the road. Castro, interestingly, is doing better in Wisconsin media than nationally. There also seems to be one outlet (which may not be the same for all) that likes Inslee, Hickenlooper, and Gabbard more than the rest. Kamala Harris continues to show strength in the Midwest despite her California base.
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