Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Measuring Candidates' "Face Time"

The New York Times has an interesting chart, documenting the candidates' total television face time.

Perhaps I am looking too far into it, but it seems that this chart alone can tell us quite a bit about campaign strategy. For instance, Bill Richardson is higher than one might expect; he is trying to build name recognition. John McCain is the highest; he is trying to confront all the flak he has been receiving over the past few months. I think most of the positions on the chart can be explained in a similar fashion, but I am not so sure what to make of Hillary's position. I think there are two ways of approaching it: First, given that she is the front-runner, there is simply no reason to waste time talking to people like Chris Matthews. Second, her campaign does not want to put her on these news shows out of fear that she will do something damaging to the campaign. Throughout the early stages of this campaign, she has been accused of being overly scripted and acting solely on political calculation. That sort of campaign could really clash with a Chris Matthews type host. So, perhaps her campaign, given its comfortable position in the front, has decided that it is simply not worth the risk. I think the difference between these two options is subtle (they don't need to vs. they don't want to out of fear), but I think I lean toward the latter. I think Hillary succeeds in debates and stump speeches, which are both grotesquely scripted affairs. But, I think she would have less success in a less scripted venue, and I think her campaign agrees.

1 comment:

BrandonIsADork said...

One aspect of the campaign that I am looking forward to is the battle that is going to exist between Clinton and Obama as party rivals. One correspondent on NPR has intelligently remarked that they are at a "cease fire" until November gets closer. Personally I'm looking forward to how the two senators think on their feet if they are put in the position to do so against one another.