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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GSPM professors study presidential candidates’ media impact

The 2016 presidential election is more than a year away, but two GW professors are already studying the candidates.

Two associate professors in the Graduate School of Political Management conducted a study over the last two months on how members of the public discussed the 2016 presidential candidates and how candidates’ campaign messages affected mainstream and social media.

Michael Cornfield and Lara Brown started the PEORIA Project to track and measure words, rather than poll standings or campaign dollars, during a sixty day period between March 15 and May 15. GSPM teamed up with Zignal Labs, a company that monitors and analyzes media, to track how people reacted to presidential campaign announcements.

Through the PEORIA Project — which stands for public echoes of rhetoric in America — Cornfield and Brown used Zignal to collect and assess the “relative effectiveness of the candidates’ performances and the campaigns’ communication strategies,” according to a report published by GSPM.

From that data, the professors assigned each of the eight candidates who had officially announced their campaigns during that time period an “echo value” on a scale of one to 11. They assigned the numbers based on factors like how many “mentions” a candidate received on social media and how long after a formal presidential campaign announcement the amount of media attention plateaued.

Cornfield and Brown found that Ted Cruz, R-Tx., had the largest echo following his presidential campaign announcement.

Later this summer, GSPM will release a second report that analyzes the echo of anyone who declares his or her candidacy this June.

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