Iraq’s Back….Is That Good News for McCain?
With most recent polls showing roughly two-thirds of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, new data seems to show that the war is picking up steam as a campaign issue, after a months-long lull in news coverage. A report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that in the past week, two distinct narratives have emerged in campaign coverage:
Track one was the fiercely passionate endgame to the Democrats’ long and hard-fought nomination battle. The other was the developing general election campaign between John McCain and Barack Obama. And in that story line, the Iraq war began to move back onto center stage.
While the coverage of Iraq is way down from this time last year as an overall percentage of news stories — from 19 percent to 3 percent — according to the report, it accounted for 10 percent of campaign-related stories last week, up from less than one percent the week previous. Much of this new discussion focused on the dust-ups between Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama over the factuality of McCain’s statements about current troop levels and McCain’s challenge to Obama to visit Iraq.
With some relatively good news emerging from Iraq — only 19 American deaths during the month of May, the lowest monthly total to date since the war began in 2003 — this could prove beneficial for the McCain campaign, if things continue to quiet down in Iraq and if that translates into an increase in support for the war among the American public.