Republican senators are mentioned in more than twice as many news stories as their Democratic counterparts with John McCain and Marco Rubio leading the GOP to eight of the Top 10 slots
They don’t chair any committees and none of them ran for president this cycle.
In fact, only six are currently running for reelection to their seat in 2012.
But that has not stopped Republican U.S. Senators from dominating the media coverage among members of the nation’s upper legislative chamber so far this year.
And it’s not even close.
A Smart Politics review of broadcast media transcripts by ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and NPR for the first six months of 2012 finds that Republican U.S. Senators have been mentioned in more than twice as many news stories as their Democratic counterparts with John McCain leading the field at more than 10 stories per day.
The U.S Senate’s 100 members were mentioned at least once in more than 8,500 news stories across these seven broadcast outlets under analysis.
Republicans were most commonly referenced, holding eight of the Top 10 slots and 17 of the Top 25.
All told, the GOP senators were mentioned in 5,894 stories compared to just 2,672 for the Democrats, or 121 percent more stories.
(Note: This analysis did not code for the type of coverage each senator received (i.e. content) nor is the data weighted by multiple mentions of a senator within a single news story).
At the top of the list was a senator who has frequently been called a “media darling” ever since his first presidential run 12 years ago – Arizona’s John McCain.
McCain, who does not hold a GOP leadership position, was mentioned in 1,958 news stories during the first 182 days of the year – or an average of 10.8 stories per day.
No other senator from either party received even half this amount of attention.
The next closet senator is one of the most junior members of the legislative body – Florida’s Marco Rubio – who was mentioned in 830 stories, or an average of 4.6 per day.
Rubio has been a buzzworthy U.S. Senator ever since taking office in January 2011, and his name has been frequently dropped as a potential 2012 vice presidential nominee for the party during the year which boosted his media profile.
Other Republicans from the U.S. Senate who have been in Mitt Romney’s fishbowl of possible running mates include Ohio’s Rob Portman who came in at #7 (202 stories), Kentucky’s Rand Paul at #8 (198), New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte at #21 (90), and South Dakota’s John Thune at #22 (87).