"Historically, in fact,7 there has been nearly a one-to-one correspondence between a candidate’s share of media coverage and his share of the vote in the polls. That is, other things held equal, a candidate earning 30 percent in national polls tends to get about 30 percent of the media coverage, while one polling at 10 percent will get 10 percent of it instead. It’s just that simple.8
Thus, we can readily compare a candidate’s share of media coverage to his polling average. Trump, for example, has received an average of 28 percent of the Republican vote in national polls since July, according to HuffPost Pollster. Prorate that number upward to exclude undecided voters and candidates who have exited the race, and you get him up to 32 percent. By comparison, Trump has received 54 percent of the media coverage of the GOP race, so his media coverage has exceeded his share in the polls by 22 percentage points.
That is a big gap, although not the largest on record. Instead, the record belongs to Jesse Jackson, who received 33 percent of the media coverage in the run-up to the 1984 Democratic primaries despite usually polling only in the high single digits.
|CANDIDATE||RACE||SHARE OF MEDIA||ADJ. SHARE OF POLLS||EXCESS MEDIA|
|Jesse Jackson||1984 D||33%||9%||+24%|
|Donald Trump||2016 R||54%||32%||+22%|
|Douglas Wilder||1992 D||40%||19%||+21%|
|Rick Perry||2012 R||37%||18%||+19%|
|Howard Dean||2004 D||40%||21%||+19%|
|Pat Robertson||1988 R||23%||7%||+16%|
|Hillary Clinton||2016 D||77%||65%||+12%|
|Mitt Romney||2008 R||24%||13%||+11%|
It’s odd to compare Jackson and Trump, but their candidacies have some similarities: Both were nationally renowned (and controversial) figures before embarking on their campaigns, and their candidacies were strongly opposed by most members of their party establishment. Eventually, Jackson fared reasonably well, winning two states and 18 percent of the Democratic vote in the 1984 primaries and advancing political participation in the black community, although he never came close to winning the nomination."