The American Presidency Project has a final tally of whom major U.S. newspapers endorsed for president in 2012. The winner and probably not a surprise: Barack Obama received the endorsement of 41 newspapers. Mitt Romney got the nod from 34. Two editorial boards gave a split endorsement.
Among the big endorsements for Obama: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post. For Romney: The Dallas Morning News, New York Daily News, New York Post and Houston Chronicle. The conservative Wall Street Journal doesn't endorse candidates.
The Observer endorsed Barack Obama, although we noted that neither choice was inspiring.
Twelve newspapers that endorsed Obama in 2008 decided on Romney in 2012, while only one, the San Antonio Express-News, endorsed Obama this year after endorsing John McCain in 2008. Eighteen newspapers endorsed no candidates; most did so as matter of endorsement policy, not an unwillingness to pick one this election.
Among all newspapers, however, Republicans have received the nod more often in 16 of the previous 20 presidential elections, dating back to 1932, according to newspaper trade publication Editor & Publisher. Many of those Republican endorsements come from small circulation newspapers.
USA Today's John McIver helpfully breaks down the historical data:
That's a clear shift toward Democrats, although E&P shows a 146-120 Romney lead in endorsements thus far among all newspapers. .Since 1932, E&P has recorded almost 18,000 endorsements by more than 2,600 newspapers nationally. In any given year, there are 300 to 1,000 endorsements. Based on my study of E&P data, Republican presidential candidates have received more newspaper endorsements over the years — though perhaps things are starting to shift in the Democrats' favor. Let's look at recent decades:
- In the 1940s, out of 1,043 newspaper endorsements: Republican candidates got 76%, Democrats, 24%.
- In the '60s, out of 839 newspapers, Republicans received 68%, Democrats, 32%.
- In the '80s, out of 452 newspapers, Republicans got 78%, Democrats, 22%.
- In the 2000s, out of 394 newspapers, Democrats received 51.9% of the endorsements, Republicans 48.1%.
Peter St. Onge