Poll Numbers Have Their Privileges

Clearly, a number of linked circumstances (public stumbles by Rick Perry and Herman Cain; perpetual lukewarm support of Mitt Romney; a media blitz last weekend) have led to former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s new frontrunner status in the GOP presidential primary race.

As evidence of the relationship between ephemeral audience preferences and media agenda-setting, my friend Eric Ostermeier, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, has released an illuminating content analysis of last night’s GOP debate. Frontrunners get more talk-time, potentially perpetuating their frontrunner status by framing them as such (unless they commit a serious gaffe, provide a generally unimpressive performance, or… what was that third thing?).

Smart Politics is a great nonpartisan site for research and analysis… it’s on our blogroll!  You should read it.

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