While it came as no surprise to pretty much the entire media population, Hillary Clinton’s formal announcement that she’s in the 2016 Presidential race lifted her media rating by +1 point to a new high of 94, the strongest media rating off all candidates in our 2016 Presidential Contenders sector.
It’s important to understand just how prominent a 94 media rating really is these days. For the April media cycle, President Obama’s media rating is 95, off -3 points over the prior month. Vice President Job Biden is off -2 points at 85. Another highly visible political figure is Secretary of State John Kerry with an 85 media rating, significantly below Hillary Clinton.
As with the GOP announcements, the event itself generates a large and attentive media audience which Mrs. Clinton took full advantage of to position her key campaign message — delivering positive economic change to the struggling American Family.
It was only 3 months ago that Hillary Clinton was cruising in the media with an 88 rating, not that far above some of her GOP contenders. But in the last 3 months she’s shifted into high gear, with her media momentum going positive for the first time in 6 months. She’s comfortably above her trailing 12-month average and continues to occupy the #1 sector position.
Only 2 media segments showed some decline – consumer media and discussion forums. All remaining media segments were up or showed no change over the March media cycle.
The key storylines surrounding Clinton’s +1 point increase for the April media cycle were predictable. Besides the formal candidacy announcement coverage, the media continued to hound the candidate on the private email storyline, her net worth and believe it or not, the story that just will not die, the Benghazi investigation.
The media spark around the lack of disclosure at the Clinton Foundation did not turn into any real media flame in April, and looks like a topic the media doesn’t want to build a story around. Hillary Clinton’s husband and brothers a are re-entering the media noise and may contribute to some coverage points during May’s media cycle. Today, they’re outliers and are not attracting either traditional or social media in any sizeable volumes.
As the media segment trends below illustrate, Hillary Clinton is generating strong numbers across all three major segment groups – traditional at 96 points, social media at 90 points and search volumes at 86 points.
On the issues front, Hillary Clinton has staked an early position on the struggles facing the “middle class” and the broader storyline around income inequality. The latter is up +2 points at 75, but appears to have plateaued in the media.
The media has shown a higher level of interest in the more specific story around minimum wage issues. The trend is up +4 points or +5 percent at a very strong 88 rating. Like income equality, the topic may have hit a temporary plateau in the media as trade legislation and negotiations with Iran take more a dominant position in April/May media coverage.
Now I understand NAFTA is not the much debated TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement), but I’ve included the topic’s media profile since it is frequently referenced within the media when reporting on President Obama’s signature trade legislative effort. Why does this affect Hillary Clinton and her run for President? It’s quickly becoming a flashpoint in the Democratic party. It’s divisive at a time when the party should be on the same page. While the always savvy politician that is Hillary Clinton has handled the debate quite well to this point, the media’s appetite for divisive party issues during an election is insatiable.
So I’ve included NAFTA to provide some context on trade topics and their position within the media landscape. (With June’s reports we’ll have TPP in the U.S. Political Trends sector, and Senator Lindsey Graham in the 2016 Presidential Contenders sector.)
Clinton is still in a comfortable media lead versus her GOP contenders, although she is vulnerable if her rating were to dip below 90 points.