2016 presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton sustained her 94 point rating and #1 peer rank position of the prior 3 months on a strong populist tone that drew considerable media attention. The candidate used Roosevelt Island as the backdrop to highlight many of the “common folk” messages she’s promoting in the media. Remaining storylines were rebuttals to competitive attacks (both Republican and Democrat), use of private emails, and Sydney Blumenthal’s role in State Department decisions. Clinton’s strong media position compares identically to her rating position in the prior year, and her numbers are well ahead the sector average of 60. While it’s hard to squeeze additional momentum out of a mid-90 rating, Clinton is showing a positive +19% increase in media momentum over the prior month. Her campaign generated an impressive $26.3 million in media value for the latest media cycle, lifting her cumulative 12-month media value to $213 million.
2016 presidential candidate Chris ChristieChris Christie received his share of rating points this month on news that the New Jersey governor is now officially in the 2016 race. While he’s had his troubles in the media (Bridgegate), his media rating remains very strong, bordering on extreme at 89 points — no change over the prior month and cementing his #2 rank behind Hillary Clinton. His announcement provided the New Jersey governor with ample opportunity to position himself against his fellow GOP challengers and Democratic rivals. The NJ Supreme Court also handed Christie an opportunity to bolster his anti-union message when the court sided with the governor’s decision to reject a $1.6 million pension payment. However his media momentum is off -32%, subtracting from the momentum he built throughout 2014 and revealing some vulnerability in the sector. On the media value front, he’s pulling close to Clinton’s numbers with $13.3 million for June and a cumulative 12-month value of $119 million.
2016 presidential candidate Joe BidenEveryone (even most Republicans) likes Joe Biden. While he’s cleverly avoided commenting on a run for the office held by his current boss, there is a small but determined group of Democrats rallying support for a Biden 2016 White House bid. But sadly, recent coverage for the Vice President was about the death of his son Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer. The Vice President also made an unexpected visit to Charleston, South Carolina to show the White House’s concern and compassion for the tragic loss of life from the Church shooting in June. It was a difficult month for Biden, but as usual he faced it with compassion and reflection, even in the face of unfathomable personal loss. Biden’s media rating for the latest media cycle is 88, a moderate +3 point change over the prior month value of 85 and up +2 points over the prior-year’s 86 figure. Within the sector, Biden is currently ranked #3, a +1 rank change over the prior month.
2016 presidential candidate Rick PerryFor recently announced GOP candidate Rick Perry, the media swung from presidential comeback stories to a viral tidal wave that caught Mr. Perry referring to the horrific premeditated murders in South Carolina as an “accident”. Even before his media managers could push the auto-correct button, the comment sped across social and traditional segments. Combined with Perry’s presidential bid announcement, his media rating jumped +8 points (+10 percent) to 85, moving him +7 positions to the #4 rank. His new 85 rating, while 5 points shy of the 90 he generated in the 2012 race, is 19% ahead of his position just a year ago. Media momentum is still weak, down -51% over the prior month and showing negative media build for the last 5 months. Can the former governor sustain his June rating rise to the mid-80s and turn his media momentum around, or is the +9 point increase simply a temporary announcement bump? Time will tell and you can find all the media analytics here over the next 15 months.
2016 presidential candidate John KerryAs a possible VP running mate on the Democratic ticket, Secretary of State John Kerry has been consumed by the Iran nuclear deal and the ensuing media avalanche. The media did manage to cover a rather serious bike accident that landed Kerry in intensive care, but overall, the Secretary’s media rating derives from his work on Iran and his continuing role as Secretary of State. John Kerry’s topline media rating for the June media cycle is 84, a moderate -1 change over the prior-month score of 86 and a moderate -2 decline over the prior-year rating of 86. Clearly Kerry is enjoying the media attention allocated to being a key player on the international stage. Momentum is up this month on his high media profile during the Iran nuclear negotiations along with his role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but a careful review of his 4-year media numbers suggests his overall media prominence is softening.
2016 presidential candidate Rand PaulThe big media rating moment for Rand Paul came on the Senate floor when the Tennessee senator forced a temporary lapse of the Patriot Act’s spy provisions. And while the senator failed to rally support for his NSA Reform Bill, the media is all too ready to embrace a combative Senate floor speaker. His only media speed bump came in the form of the rogue Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whom Mr. Paul embraced if for nothing other than his staunchly anti-federal government ideas. Ranked #6 in the sector with a media rating of 83, the senator dropped -2 rank positions and -2 rating points (-3 percent) in June. Paul’s rating trajectory is still quite strong with positive media momentum at +7% for the latest media cycle. Current media value is $4.3 million with a cumulative 12-month total topping $123 million. Rand Paul’s 2014 media plateau is now a distant memory as his ratings are clearly being propelled by his strong showing in broad election coverage segments.
2016 presidential candidate Mitt RomneyI know, he’s already scratched his name from the GOP list. But former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been anything but quiet since leaving the race. The media continues to report on his broad efforts to shape the race, help his party avoid the mistakes that cost him the 2012 election, and help secure a candidate that can win the presidency. For the June media cycle, his sector rank is unchanged at #7 and his rating is up +1 point to 82. Romney has the perfect GOP spokesperson media profile: his ratings have been consistently in the 80s for nearly 4 years. He’s is in a stable media position with no real change in media momentum — he’s not gaining much in the sector, but he’s not losing any media ground either. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mitt Romney considered for the GOP VP nomination.
2016 presidential candidate Ted CruzJune was not kind to Senator Ted Cruz, who found himself apologizing for making Biden jokes right after the Vice President lost his son to cancer. With the week, the media couldn’t resist separating the crowded GOP pack by running with conservative hypocrisy stories featuring photos of Cruz embracing television host Josh Duggar. The Fox TV host has been caught in an ugly series of child molestation allegations involving family members. Not the kind of rating points you’re looking for. Ted Cruz’s meteoric 2012-2013 media performance hasn’t really recovered from the ratings ebb he experienced throughout the critical 2014 pre-campaign cycle. His current media rating remains unchanged from the prior month at 80 points. Ranked #8 in the sector, the senator’s media momentum has begun to ebb south. The media target for Mr. Cruz is a solid mid-80s rating — that would put him on solid media ground with any top-3 GOP contenders. He’s still +1 point ahead of Walker for the conservative segment, but Walker’s momentum is well ahead of Cruz’s, suggesting in the next media cycle Walker will overtake Cruz.
2016 presidential candidate Scott WalkerWisconsin governor Scott Walker spent most of June lobbying conservative Iowa caucus voters and trying to avoid direct confrontation with his GOP rivals. Storylines ran from new gun legislation in Wisconsin to tighter restrictions on abortions. The media is keenly focused on his strategy to win the evangelical vote. Walker’s media rating curve is amazing: from late 2013 through the current media cycle he has rarely hit a speed bump. Just shy of 80 at 79, the Wisconsin governor is up +1 point for the current media cycle and up an amazing +21% over the prior year. Cumulative growth is also strong, up +9% over the prior 4-year period. All of Walker’s media build came in the last 2 years. While his sector rank position remains unchanged over the prior month, he’s up +3 positions over his peers over the prior year. If anything should give Walker concern it’s his weakening media momentum — while he just crossed into negative momentum for the first time in 8 months, the direction has been pointing south for 5 straight months.
2016 presidential candidate Elizabeth WarrenOfficially not in the race according to a group trying to nudge her into a 2016 bid, Massachussetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been very outspoken about national issues without worrying about how she’s polling against her opponents. And the media has been eating it up and her ratings show the result. Coverage has been focused on her strongly critical views on the SEC, Trans-Pacific Partnership, student loan debt, Nuclear deal with Iran, along with all manner of social issues the senator campaigned on to secure her position in Senate. There are the obligatory references and comparisons to fellow female presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton. Overall, Warren has been blazing her own agenda, upsetting both parties without the baggage of being a candidate herself. Although not a declared candidate, Senator Warren has definitely leveraged the election media opportunity, lifting her pre-election rating average of 67 to her current 78 points. Momentum is strong (up +57%) on 3-months of continuing media build.
2016 presidential candidate Lindsey GrahamLabeled a “progressive” by his Republican peers, newly announced presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham saw his media rating increase +2 points to 78, placing him in a dead heat with his near political opposite Elizabeth Warren. Post-announcement coverage focused on Graham’s political background, bipartisan appeal, hawkish international views, and that he’s the only single GOP candidate in the race. Graham did wander off his script after commenting on how even a transgender voter like Caitlin Jenner is welcome in his Republican party. Graham is a great example of a branded influencer leveraging an event (election) to vault his media value well-above his historical position. While the GOP field is quite crowded, it is also the natural shortlist for future running mates. Graham is much admired within the Republican party for his character, humor, and hawkish international bite. Media growth metrics for Graham are strong across the board: short term he’s up +2 percent, and year-over-year growth is equally strong, up +13 percent with cumulative growth up +10 percent. Momentum has been building for 12 straight months.
2016 presidential candidate Rick SantorumThe media loves a candidate willing to talk up social issues, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum did not dissapoint. The recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage presented an ideal opportunity for Santorum to appeal to both GOP conservatives and his home-base evangelicals. But it was his decision to donate the political contribution he received in 2012 from the head of an organization that allegedly fueled the mass shooting in a South Carolina church that drove much of Santorum’s June media coverage. Santorum’s 4-year media rating curve follows his current media strategy to recover to his 2012 election high of 91. He’s got a ways to go as his current rating is off -5 points or -6 percent to 77. He lost much of the ground he gained last month when he announced his intention to pursue the GOP nomination. Apparently the media covered the announcement and then fled to other candidate storylines and events. Momentum is up significantly at +95%, but primarily on base coverage that barely broke 50 points. Santorum’s media challenge is to get and stay relevant in a crowded media field. There couldn’t have been a worse media time to be a late entry into the GOP field.
2016 presidential candidate Andrew CuomoNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been so mired in all manner of state-specific antics that the national media hasn’t had a chance to reflect on his role in the 2016 election. The politics and ensuing media coverage in Albany is arguably a world unto itself, and Cuomo spent his June media coverage responding to probes, comparisons, legislator indictments, and other state corruption coverage. But wait! There was one bright spot in Cuomo’s June coverage as law enforcement did manage to catch/kill the two murders who escaped from the State Prison in Clinton, NY. The New York governor’s ratings reflect a series of unfortunate state political events that have elevated his media position but have not attracted the national spotlight that would put him in contention with his peers. Cuomo’s rating is up a strong +4 points or +5 percent at 75, well ahead of his trailing 12-month average of 71. Media momentum has been illusive for the governor and is continuing its migration south, off -49% this month.
2016 presidential candidate Sarah PalinOn the one hand, it’s hard to believe Sarah Palin is pulling the same media rating as Jeb Bush. But in other ways, I’m surprised she’s not rating higher than Hillary Clinton. The proverbial media train wreck known as Sarah Palin will haunt each presidential election until she’s supplanted by an even more questionable VP selection. John McCain’s 2008 running mate still draws media attention to the tune of 75 points this month, a strong media showing for a non-candidate. Palin may have finally bottomed out on the media rating front. Her ratings are up +3 at 75 placing her in an astonishing #13 position, in a rating tie with Jeb Bush (sorry Jeb). Her 4-year media curve tells a story of gradual decline with a slight improvement in 2015. It’s clearly a metric story of hanging on to media relevance. With 3 consecutive months of declining momentum values, its hard to see her pulling out of the rating nosedive that began in 2011.
2016 presidential candidate Jeb BushThe media spent most of its Jeb Bush coverage quota in June on his formal announcement for the GOP ticket. As with his GOP peers, the announcement provided an opportunity for Bush to restate his qualifications for earning the GOP seal of approval. GOP rivals found ample media time to attack Jeb’s chances against Hillary in the general election based on his moderate position on many issues. Jeb may finally be getting his media mojo, but not in all the right places. His topline rating is up +1 at 75 and momentum is still positive at +11% for the June media cycle. If you look beyond the topline rating into individual media segment ratings, it becomes clear that Jeb’s media weakness is social and non-traditional segments. His online news segment rating is 66. His aggregate social media rating is equally low at 53. In today’s battle for media attention, social coverage is critical and the viral aspect cannot be underestimated. Mainstream segments (newspapers, magazines, broadcast) love Jeb Bush. Blogs, niche blogs, Twitter — not so much. Clearly Jeb needs some social mojo to lift his ratings above those of his more media savvy peers.
2016 presidential candidate Marco RubioMedia coverage for Florida Senator Marco Rubio favored comparisons to Jeb Bush and continued criticism of the young candidate’s financial troubles. And the media was quick to take his financial troubles one step further with a week-long series of articles detailing his wife’s less-the-stellar driving record (where’s Uber when you need them?). Rubio got a nice media lift in June with an advancing rating up +7 points or +10 percent to 74. His trailing 12-month rating is still quite low for a key presidential contender at 67 points. Anything south of 70 points in a national storyline competition is reason for concern. His latest increase got him back in the media race. His year-over-year and cumulative media growth numbers are positive, but not that strong relative to his peers. Rubio is just now returning to the media levels he won when spearheading immigration reforms, which he is now trying to distant himself from. In Rubio’s favor are his momentum numbers. He’s rebuilding the media ground he lost after his immigration bill failed in Congress. Momentum is up +53% this month on 5 straight months of recovery.
2016 presidential candidate Paul RyanThe 2012 presidential race may have come and gone for Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, but this year he is seemingly in the middle of every legislative mess -— and that’s right where he wants to be. He’s a Republican pundit on election issues and the Democratic contenders, and when it comes to the GOP — he’s a media darling, willing to take up all matter of legislation regardless of which party or President originated it. Throughout June, Ryan was the go-to media guy for quotes on ObamaCare, immigration, and anything tax-related, especially the hotly debated highway appropriations bill. Ryan’s media profile is one of a stable congressional speaker. He’s been rock steady at around 70 points for four years straight. His bipartisan work with President Obama on TPP helped his media rating this month, lifting it +7 points or +11 percent to 72. The senator is nowhere near his 2012 election rating high of 91, but he’s aligning himself with issues that are pulling strong media numbers. Trade, tax reform, and other non-social issues are his strength and he’s becoming the go-to media quote source on all matters of budget, tax, and deficit stories.
2016 presidential candidate Mike HuckabeeApparently the Supreme Court’s decision making same-sex marriage legal across the country really upset the GOP contenders. It wasn’t hard to separate out which one was the most upset — that award goes to Mike Huckabee who lashed out at the Court, the ruling, and in particular, the transgender community. But when your media manager takes a potty break, whatever you do don’t start talking to the national media! And that’s exactly what former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee did when he said he “wished he was transgender in high school so he could shower with the girls”. Huckabee lost a lot of ground this month and that’s the rating story for the fiery former Arkansas governor. His -4 point rating decline translated into a loss of 6 rank positions to his peers. Losing that kind of grip on the sector is hard to regain as the media attention on the 2016 presidential bid continues to build. His media trajectory is actually quite strong, with solid year-over-year growth at +41%. And Huckabee’s momentum metrics are right where they need to be at +58% (6 straight months above +50%). But again, the story is relative sector performance and the media has lots of alternative storylines to chase.
2016 presidential candidate Bernie SandersThe self-described socialist from Vermont bent on shaking up what he refers to as the compromising Hillary Clinton platform, Senator Bernie Sanders fueled plenty of media coverage on the topic of his strong polling numbers and large crowds he was drawing across early primary states. He got his liberal sounding board and Mr. Sanders has not disappointed the media. In return, Bernie Sanders had solid ratings for the June media cycle, up +2 points or +3 percent to 70. The Senator crossed into the 70s rating territory for the first time in 4-years. The Vermont Senator is an unapologetic and passionate advocate for issues that affect the lives of everyday Americans and seems to be getting the media attention that these topics deserve.
2016 presidential candidate Ben CarsonCombination brain surgeon and presidential candidate Ben Carson has been a lightning rod for shock quotes and media commentary, but in June the media recognized Mr. Carson for his concern and compassion after the mass shooting in Charleston, North Carolina. But the media didn’t rest a second in covering the mass-exit of staff members from his campaign. He continues to draw media attention as a vibrant speaker, and apparently one of few Republicans to show up to a Latino political rally (and talk about immigration reform). Ben Carson recovered some of the media momentum (up +35%) his campaign has been lacking. His media fortunes continue to slide and for the latest media cycle he lost an additional point to end the current media cycle at 70. His emotional and on-point commentary after the shooting in South Carolina kept his media spotlight front and center. As the 2016 election gains momentum and the field gets even more crowded, GOP contenders in the 70 rating band risk media obscurity. Ben Carson must avoid dropping below the 70-point rating threshold in order to stave off any crushing blow to his media momentum.