The wrapping paper has finally been taken off the VP nominee packages. Donald Trump has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence, while Hillary Clinton has selected Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Both hold diametrically opposed positions on key election issues.
But at mediaQuant, we’re all about media metrics.
For the June news cycle, Pence earned a 44 rating, down -16 points or -36 percent over May. Much of Pence’s decline was due to the prior-month (May) build-up over his stance on social issues. Pence saw marginal coverage in June ahead of what is likely to be a ratings bump due to the early July VP nominee vetting coverage.
Tim Kaine closed June up +8 points or +13 percent to a strong 62 rating, a new high for the Virginia Senator. Mr. Kaine benefited from early stipulation that he was a front-runner for the Democratic VP spot. While Pence declined in the candidate rankings by nearly 20 positions, Kaine moved up 11 positions.
Historically, both VP candidates have similar media rating values in the mid-to-low 40 range. Although in the last 2 years, Pence’s has registered a few media spikes, reaching a high of 63 following Governor-led legislation involving abortion rights, religious freedom, same-sex marriage, and LGBT rights. In contrast, Tim Kaine has maintained a low to moderate media profile, moving into 50-rating territory once in 2012 and again in 2015 just prior to the 2016 election season.
When it comes to media values, both VP candidates have a long way to go before they’re operating anywhere near the party’s presidential nominees Clinton and Trump. Republican Mike Pence closed June with $54,000 in media value versus a more respectable $370.000 for Democratic candidate Tim Kaine
Media sentiment is a mixed bag. Both candidates are driving the same neutral coverage levels, but Kaine has a negative sentiment of 14% while Pence shows negligible negative media sentiment.
We’ll be tracking both sets of candidates as they move through the conventions and onto the November election. If rating history for prior VP nominees is an indicator of future coverage, we’re anticipating a significant increase for both candidates.