Comparison Charts • How Many Photos?

GOP Primaries:  In February and March 2012, researchers evaluated a total of 3,234 photographs from 18 online news sites of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul:  1,442 photographs of Romney, 1,067 photographs of Santorum, 526 photographs of Gingrich and 199 of Paul.

The General Election:  In September and October 2012, researchers evaluated a total of 5,546 photographs from 18 online news sites of Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney: 2,933 photographs of Romney and 2613 photographs of Obama.

The two charts below further breakdown the photographic coverage of the 2012 presidential election, as assisted by Pinterest:  

Note that PrezPix researchers evaluated 18 news outlets in the spring and 18 outlets in the fall; for the general election researchers replaced three of the outlets considered in the spring for three different outlets representing swing states and states with presidential primaries.

The key finding in looking at all these numbers was this:  the amount of coverage did not reliably track with the favorability of coverage.

Click the chart to open to a larger size.

As the pie charts on the Key Findings/General Election page suggest, much of the disparity in the fall general election coverage occurred in September as Romney struggled with the fallout from the leaked 47 percent video and the weak “bounce” from the Republican National Convention — in other words MORE coverage in the fall campaign did not always translate into BETTER coverage.

That was the reverse of what happened in the spring primaries, when Romney received both more coverage and better coverage than Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, as the pie charts on the Key Findings/GOP Primaries help suggest.

NB:  Researchers applied the same collection methodology for all the news outlets studied.  It is likely that the researchers on this survey did not collect every photograph published, and, on occasion, certain photographs that could be viewed were not collectible by Pinterest.  The total number of photographs studied, therefore, should be understood to be representative of those published on the news outlets, not an absolute set of all photographs published on all sites.  
It is fair to note, however, that the number of photographs of any individual candidate collected for any given site is a rough indication of the commitment of that site to photographically covering that specific candidate.