Below, I have translated their polling results to a Likert Scale, where 1 represents "No Real Concern" and 4 represents a "Major Concern".
Judged by this metric, "Obama/bitter" and "Obama/values" rank just fifth and sixth on the list, respectively. Instead, the issue that concerns the voters the most is "Clinton/flip-flops". That is followed by two McCain issues -- his closeness with George W. Bush and his own flip-flops (to its credit, MSNBC did report the Bush result on air) -- and then another Clinton ("Clinton/honesty") before we get to the first two Obama issues. Meanwhile, the two issues that strike me as unambiguously being cheap shots -- "McCain/age" and "Obama/patriotism" -- are of very little concern to voters.
If you had to rank these nine issue in terms of how much attention the media has given to them recently, what would that result look like? My guess is something like:
1. Obama / values (6)
2. Clinton / Bill (7)
(tie) Obama / bitter (5)
(tie) Clinton / honesty (4)
5. McCain / age (8)
6. McCain / Bush (2)
(tie) Clinton / flip-flops (1)
(tie) Obama / patriotism (9)
9. McCain / flip-flops (3)
Of course, this is a subjective exercise, and my judgments about where the media has been spending its time could be wrong (I really think the week I did the best job of political analysis was the week that my cable was broken). But from what I can tell, there is actually something of an inverse relationship between those issues the media has spent the most time focusing on, and those that are of the most concern to voters in the media's own polling.
Not that this is breaking any news.
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