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The decline of Rand Paul's campaign (in one graph)

- August 4, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., listens as he is introduced at a Town Hall meeting at the Kilton Library in West Lebanon, N.H.. Saturday, July 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Lately, the news for Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) presidential campaign hasn’t been good. Which is remarkable in itself, because, well, there just hasn’t been much news about Paul’s campaign at all.
Earlier, I reported on media coverage of the candidates using social analytic tools provided by Crimson Hexagon.  These tools are devised to gather and reveal the volume and tone of media coverage on major news sites. UCLA political scientist Lynn Vavreck and I are analyzing this news coverage as part of our work on the 2016 election.
Below is an update of the same graph through July 27.
paul_graphThere are two notable trends.  One is the familiar increase in coverage of Trump, which I wrote about here. Indeed, if anything, coverage of Trump has increased since I wrote that post two weeks ago.
[Why is Trump surging? Blame the media.]
The other is the striking decline in coverage of Paul.  No other candidate has seen that sort of decline.  Even if we discount the spike in coverage surrounding Paul’s effort to strike certain data-gathering provisions from Patriot Act, Paul’s news coverage has collapsed.
And given how much news coverage can affect primary candidates’ poll numbers, it’s not surprising that Paul’s poll numbers have dropped as well.  Indeed, as Ariel Edwards-Levy noted, he was polling better in July 2011 than July 2015.
News coverage alone is not enough for a successful candidacy. But it will be hard for Paul to overcome flagging fundraising and poll numbers without it.