Tweets / Ads / Articles per 100,000 people in state
How we made this ⊕
This list is an experiment in quantifying what’s on the minds of the public, the news media, and candidates running for office this year. We selected 10 major political issues that have been part of the national conversation over the course of the midterm campaign and sought to rank their prominence nationally, state by state, and within each state.
* Twitter served to gauge the public’s interest in the issues. Using Sysomos, a media monitoring company, we made complex search queries to find tweets that were relevant to the campaign or public policy--and tried to weed out those that weren’t.
* To measure how much attention the issues have received in the news media, we searched a database of 55,000 mainstream news sources from Sysomos.
* Campaign ads served as a proxy for how much attention candidates have paid to the 10 issues. Using data from Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads on national and local broadcast television and national cable networks, we counted how many times ads aired that included mentions of the issues.
For each of the three types of media, the issue with the highest national number received a score of 100, while the issue with the lowest number received a score of 0. All other issues were scored proportionally between 0 and 100. Each issue's three scores were then averaged for a final overall score. The issue with the score closest to 100 was ranked #1, and the issue closest to 0 was ranked #10. For the most recent week, Obamacare/Affordable Care Act was the issue most talked about nationwide; gay marriage was talked about least.
We also looked at how the states stacked up against one another for each issue. To do this, we show tweets, news stories, and political ads per 100,000 people, so states with large populations, like California and Texas, don’t dominate the map. Finally, we looked at which issues were most talked about within each state, scoring each issue 0 to 100, and ranking them 1 to 10, using the same method as we did for the nationwide figures.