At 43, Marco Rubio is the youngest candidate in the race for the White House, and one of the few 2016 candidates who has returned after loosing the primary and not being selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate (that selection went to Paul Ryan in 2012). Senator Marco Rubio’s media rating has not changed over the prior month, and is currently a strong 71 points, well above his trailing 12-month average of 66. Rubio is just 2 points behind Jeb Bush who’s media rating is up +3 points or 3 percent at 74.
Marco Rubio has not performed well from a sector rank perspective. Across the 54 political aspirants in our 2016 Presidential Candidate sector, he is current ranked #15, down 2 positions from last month and off 5 positions over his position last year. His 4-year cumulative media rating growth is only up +3 percent, largely due to post-2012 election media losses. The Senator was also unable to muster the house votes necessary to push through his high-profile, and somewhat career defining immigration reform bill in 2013.
Marco Rubio has shown 4-months of consistently strong media rating numbers, all above 70 points, but no real escalation towards an 80+ range where some of his GOP rivals are operating. His 4-year media rating trend shows where and how much ground Rubio lost since the last Presidential election cycle in 2012. Having lost the VP nominee to Paul Ryan on the Mitt Romney 2012 ticket, his fortunes quickly returned to pre-2012 election levels.
It was not surprising given his lack of a formal announcement in March, that his media prominence was overshadowed by Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Paul Rand and the media frenzy around Mike Pence and Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Firestorm. He also didn’t make many friends on the editorial front when along with Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, Mr. Rubio defended the controversial legislation that is now being questioned by its original authors in Indiana.
Remaining March coverage was all pre-announcement related, pointing to his run for the presidency and a mid-April official announcement date.
Needs More Work on Social Media
While traditional media values are ticking up, Marco Rubio is performing relatively weak in social media (64 points). Search volumes are also low at 55 points.
Defining Trends and Topics facing Marco Rubio
Besides his Cuban immigrant roots, Senator Rubio is probably best known for his efforts to introduce a controversial immigration reform bill in 2013. It was divisive within his own party and drew both support and criticism from democrats. The media rewarded Rubio with a boost in media coverage and his media rating during that period moved from 66 to 72 points, or +12 percent.
This month there was renewed immigration storylines from the media in as the GOP candidates begin circling their immigration policy wagons. But the leading immigration headline was the senate and house republicans’ attempt to block the President’s executive immigration orders through homeland security department funding legislation. Immigration Reform media coverage is showing some weakness, off -5 points or 6 percent this month at 75.
Global Warming and Climate Control are also areas where Marco Rubio has been quite vocal. Global Warming in particular continues a strong media build-up, +1 point at a very strong 94 media rating level.
His campaign team are quick to point out his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and significant contributions to U.S. Foreign Policy, up +2 points or 3 percent at 89.
Social and traditional media discussions on the middle east and the ongoing effort to combat islamic extremist across the region is a flashpoint for the White House, and now a positioning opportunity for the GOP contenders. The topic is off -1 point at 86 across media channels, and is ranked #24 in our political trends sector, down -2 positions over the prior month but up an amazing +33 positions over the prior year.
The GOP is getting more crowded by the day and Marco Rubio definitely has his campaign work cut out for him. One of the few remaining candidates to formally announce is Mr. Rubio’s long-time mentor, now turn competitor – Jeb Bush. The early caucus battles should help settle the final list of contenders, but until then the media has a lot to work with our media rating numbers will help keep score.