Fivethirtyeight.com ran numbers on how much media time each Democratic presidential candidate has received and found that Joe Biden continues to lead the pack, despite missteps in debates and on the trail. The week before the third debate, Mr. Biden comprised 41.6% of 15-second cable news clips mentioning each candidate and 43.3% of online stories. The week of the third debate, his shares were 43.3% and 50.9%, respectively. While his share of cable news mentions dropped slightly, his online mentions increased significantly.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the only candidate to come close, and also received a bump the week of the debate on cable and online. She made up 18.6% of 15-second cable news clips the week of 9/1. The following week, her share jumped to 26.0%. Her online share was 37.2% the week of 9/1, but it jumped to 48.2% the next week. Sen. Bernie Sanders barely registered in cable news clips, comprising 16.5% the week of 9/1 and 14.7% the week of 9/8, but he did register online. He made up 40.2% of the online stories mentioning each candidate the week of 9/1 and 46.1% of those stories the following week.
The only other candidates to see major increases were Julián Castro, who popped attacking against Joe Biden, and Robert Francis O’Rourke, who leaned in to his “take-back AR-15s” remark. The gains and steady pace of Sens. Warren and Sanders, however, have not been enough to threaten Mr. Biden’s dominance of cable news or drastically shake his position in online coverage thus far.