October 24, 2016 Last Updated 5:04 pm

Parse.ly analyzes campaign story page views and the polls, to create a look at presidential race

The analytics platform company created graphs that confirms the widely held belief that the presidential candidate did their best when not leading the news

The analytics platform Parse.ly has produced a pretty cool set of charts which attempt to show the correlation between ‘scandals’ – of media memes, if you will – and the rise and fall of poll numbers.

What they did was look at the number of page views articles associated with the campaign stories and overlaid them with the RealClearPolitics polling average. From this they produced a baker’s dozen graphs.

The three most interesting – at least to me – would be the three big news stories that followed the end of the Democratic convention: the Khan family, Hillary Clinton’s health, and finally the recent Access Hollywood tape.


Clinton would have been expected to receive a bump in the polls following her party’s Democratic convention – especially since it was considered to have been well run – but that bump might well have been amplified by the fact that for the week following the convention Donald Trump was on Twitter keeping the Khan family front and center, then going on ABC’s This Week and saying “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say… Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

The issue of Trump’s treatment of the Khan family was such a disaster for the Republican that the Clinton campaign has resurrected the issue in a new campaign ad that many have called the most effective of the cycle.

A few weeks after the convention, at a ceremony commemorating 9/11, Hillary Clinton fell ill and was seen being helped into a SUV and taken home. That moment marked a tightening of the race as a meme that had been repeated by the alt-right now was part of the mainstream media’s coverage of the campaign.


It has been said before that in this race for the White House between Trump and Clinton whoever is in the news… is losing. That week in September Clinton was dominating the news, and it certainly appears that her poll numbers suffered because of it.

In late September the first debate was held, Clinton, near the end, brought up the issue of Trump’s treatment of women.

“One of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest — he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them — and he called this woman ‘Miss Piggy,’ then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina,” Clinton said.

“Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado. And she has become a US citizen and you can bet she is going to vote this November.”

By this time, Trump appeared to have tired, and his reaction was to ask “where did you find this?” – hardly a good response.

But the issue outlived the end of the debate. Then the Access Hollywood tape was released by The Washington Post.


“At the peak of the convention, articles on Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump received 5 percent of the total 6 billion page views we see across our network monthly,” said Clare Carr, VP of Marketing at Parse.ly. “No other topic in current events compares in terms of sustained coverage or reader attention. It’s only intensified closer to the election – we routinely observe that over half of the top 20 stories across our entire network are related to the election.”

One supposed that during any campaign there would be correlations between news of the candidates and the poll number. But there are two things unique to the 2016 campaign: the growing number of polling firms providing data, and the overwhelmingly negative campaign news this cycle.

With now only two weeks to go in the cycle, the Clinton campaign seems to be heeding the lessons of this cycle and plans to remain positive, taking pokes at her opponent, but trying not to create a firestorm so close to the election.

“Now, as the candidates head into the final 15 days of the 2016 presidential election, Clinton’s plan is to keep goading Trump from afar while trying to deliver a positive closing statement to voters that will make her likely election about something more than a simple rejection of Trumpism,” said Annie Karni of Politico.

Parse.ly created a graph that includes most of the major news stories of the campaign following the conventions, overlaid with the polling averages. You can click on this graph, or the ones above, to see a larger version.


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