Presidential Race Dominates National News Coverage

Constituted 27% of coverage, more than the rest of the top-five stories combined

The 2012 presidential election occupied its highest percentage of national media outlet's news holes to date for the Dec. 12-18 reporting period as the Iowa caucuses approached and they focused on what appeared to be shaping up into a two-man battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

That coverage was driven in part by conservative commentators on cable weighing in on what that winnowing of the field means.

The election constituted 27% of coverage on the 52 national outlets analyzed. That was more than the other top-five stories combined. Number two on the list was the Economy at 10%, followed by the wind-down of the war in Iraq (8%), the ongoing Penn State chief abuse scandal (5%) and the education system (3%).

Cable news led the election coverage, giving it more than half 51% of its attention. Gingrich drew the most attention as the primary figure in 49% of the coverage across all five media sectors studies, cable, network broadcast newscasts, radio news, print and online.