Tracking political trends and issues is one of the highlights of being a data analyst at mediaQuant. I started out analyzing election polling data in the 80’s for various California candidates and ballot initiatives. You could say tracking political issue is in my DNA.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that I’m a political media junkie.
With personal perspective aside, we launched the ever expanding U.S. Politics Trend Category just prior to the 2012 election and we’re now monitoring with detailed historical analytics 120 political trends.
So, whats moving in US Politics this month?
With the Affordable Care Act well underway the arguments fore/against the Act are starting to fade in the media, the Health Care Reform (+1 @ 92 pts.) trend is #7 in the US Politics rankings this month, down 6 positions from last year’s #1 position. What’s taking the spotlight at the beginning of 2015? Not surprisingly its Oil and Gas Prices (+1 @ 96 points) with two conflicts overseas –Afghanistan War (+1 @ 93 pts.) and the War in Iraq (-2 @ 95 pts.).
Looking at the data you can see that the media is circling the editorial wagons around two big issues facing candidates hoping to shape the agenda in 2014.
Income Inequality (+2 @ 75 pts.) is front and center in the media. President Obama (NC @ 98 pts.) has stated that income inequality is the defining issue of our generation. I’ve included Minimum Wage (+11 @85 pts.) trend coverage since it tends to track quite closely to income inequality.
Minimum Wage Media Signal and Momentum
Interestingly, income inequality is up +2 points over the prior year while minimum wage is up +11 points over the same period. Those two data points are clear indicators that the media has found two topics that clearly divide the democrats and republicans. As much as we talk about bipartisan behavior, the media loves a good fight. And nothing divides the parties more then income and race.
Domestic Surveillance (-2 @ 77 points) is another trend that was very active in the media with the disclosures originating from the Snowden leaks last year. The issue has been pulling considerable media attention for nearly 8 months, but the year-over-year comparison is startling considering the +15% increase over 2013 coverage! But it’s not really a defining election issues as both parties tend to be less divisive on both international and domestic surveillance topics.
These are just a small sampling of the hot trends and topics covered in the U.S. Politics Category reporting service.