31oct08 Media and US elections analysis

 

By Joshua Kucera, Slate Magazine

 

The New York Times gets readers in the Halloween mood by leading with yesterday’s scary economic news, including that consumer spending has dropped for the first time in 17 years. The Washington Post leads with another ominous tale, about how the Bush administration is planning a blitz of new business-friendly (and consumer- and environment-unfriendly) regulations in his last weeks in office. The rest of the top stories are election-related: The Los Angeles Times leads with the presidential campaign, where each candidate talked about the bad economic news, with Obama blaming it on Bush policies and McCain saying his mortgage-buyout plan would fix it. USA Today leads with campaign-trail interviews of Obama and McCain. The Wall Street Journal tops its worldwide newsbox with a campaign catchall, including the two candidates taking shots at their opponents’ running mates. Although, at this point, election news is more likely to elicit exhaustion than fear, the NYT does front a poll showing that half of voters said they were “scared” of what the other candidate would do if elected president.

The lead stat in the NYT poll is that 59 percent of voters think Sarah Palin is not qualified to be vice president, an increase of nine points since the beginning of the month—an increase, the paper said, driven almost entirely by Republican and independent voters. Overall, 52 percent said they supported Obama, 39 percent McCain, 2 percent Ralph Nader, and 1 percent Bob Barr.

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