Newspapers Bail on GOP, Shift to Democrats (Study)

A study tracks presidential endorsements over the past few decades

The New York Times has provided a bit of ammunition for all those critics who say the mainstream media – the Times in particular — is biased towards liberals.

Writing for Nate Silver’s 538 Blog, Micah Cohen tracked newspapers’ endorsement of presidential candidates with a focus on the last 40 years. Cohen found that while historically newspaper editorial pages “overwhelmingly favored Republican presidential candidates,” that balance has shifted over the past 30 years.

The sample begins in 1972, when Richard M. Nixon eased past Democratic challenger George McGovern. Despite Nixon’s hatred of the press, 93 percent of editorial pages gave him the nod.

The 1992 election, when Bill Clinton topped incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush, was the first one in the sample where a Democrat had the edge. 57 percent of editorial pages favored him.

Newspapers have remained somewhat even since then, with Republicans holding an dege in 1996 and 2000, and Democrats in 2004 and 2008. The overall trend suggests a move away from the GOP.

And what of the readership of these newspapers? Though a reader does not have to adopt the view of the editorial page, the post also includes an analysis based on the circulation of those newspapers.

The pattern is largely unchanged, though it does reinforce the idea that 1992 marked a shift form the right to moderate-left.

But the question on everyone's mind: given the beating Obama has taken on many fronts, will he enjoy the same support in 2012?