82% circulation advantage in favour of Brexit as The Sun declares
On the day The Sun officially came out in favour of Brexit, research from Loughborough University reveals which side of the fence the national press are really sitting on.
In depth analysis of 1127 media cuttings since 6 May suggests that whilst newspaper coverage of Leave or Remain is broadly balanced, a weighted evaluation that takes circulation and strength of partisanship into consideration shows 82% circulation advantage in favour of Brexit
Experts in the University’s Centre for Research in Communications and Culture have been analysing press and broadcast coverage of the EU Referendum since 6 May 2016.
Their latest report lifts the lid on press partisanship and finds:
- Until today’s announcement, The Sun provided one of the most balanced or neutral discussions of the campaign (4th position behind the Guardian, The Times and Financial Times)
- The Daily Express and Daily Mail are the least balanced.
When calculating volume of Remain / Leave and combining with available news space, The FT is the most pro-Remain newspaper and the Daily Express the most pro-Leave.
Newspapers ranked for Remain / Leave support
This table ranks national press for their partisanship based on the volume and average amount of coverage supporting Leave or Remain (where 1 is the most pro-Remain and 10 is the most supportive of Leave).
- When aggregating scores for all newspapers, of the 1127 items sampled there was only a 64 article surplus in favour of Leave compared with Remain, suggesting news coverage is broadly equal (41% pro-Remain / 59% pro-Leave).
- However, by taking reach into consideration, a substantial difference appears with 18% pro-Remain and 82% pro-Leave.
Report co-author Professor David Deacon said:
“Our research shows The Sun had been hedging its bets on Brexit. Not any more. The paper’s backing of Brexit is no surprise, but the strength of its editorial statement today is.
“Our analysis reveals five national newspapers are backing REMAIN and five, including The Sun, are backing LEAVE. But if you factor in the strength of papers’ endorsements and the size of their circulation, LEAVE has an 82% to 18% advantage over REMAIN.”
The following news outlets (weekdays only) were analysed for the report:
Television: Channel 4 News (7pm), Channel 5 News Tonight (6.30pm), BBC1 News at 10, ITV1 News at 10, Sky News 8-8.30pm.
Press: The Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Mirror, Sun, Star and the I.
Visit the CRCC website for more information.
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