Presidential campaign spin on the eve of the conventions

I’ve updated my tracking of spin by the presidential candidates as the conventions begin.

Here is McCain’s track record since the beginning of the year (spin is upwards):

McCain's spin - Jan 2008 to conventions

McCain

You can see that he started well, with low levels of spin, but as time passes his levels increase.

Obama’s level of spin is shown here:

Obama's spin

Obama

His level is generally high, but it oscillates a lot.

Clinton’s spin history is here:

Clinton

Clinton

Of the three, her levels of spin overall are the lowest (which goes to show that spin works, and the the voting public prefer to have their politicians tell them sugar-coating).

There are also interesting things to see in a plot of all three candidates’ spin arranged temporally:

Spin by date

Here McCain is the red line, Obama the blue line, and Clinton the black line. Notice how often Obama and Clinton’s levels of spin move in opposite directions. This is probably because one of the drivers of spin
is success (or lack of it) — so when one of them wins a primary and the other loses, we see this pattern. You can also see that sometimes one or more of the candidates have changes in spin levels that move in tandem. This is probably because of an external event that forces them to respond — typically one that they have no real control over, such as the economy or energy.

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