Media Decided GOP Race Was Over on Feb. 28
Even though Santorum didn't bow out until April 10
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 23, 2012 10:18 AM CDT
Mitt Romney waves as he arrives at the Franklin County Lincoln Day Dinner in Greencastle, Pa., Sunday, April 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – No one's been nominated yet—but the media crowned Mitt Romney the winner of the GOP primaries after he took Michigan on Feb. 28, a Pew report finds. Of course, Romney didn't essentially seal the deal until Rick Santorum dropped out. That happened on April 10, weeks after the media had effectively called the race for Romney, finds the report, which tracked 11,000 news outlets from Jan. 2 to April 15. After Feb. 28, we saw "a suddenly intense discussion of 'delegate math' and the conclusion that no other candidate could win," explains the report's co-author.

Following Michigan, coverage of Romney's campaign grew more favorable, while coverage of his rivals, "particularly Rick Santorum," decreased and grew more negative. But the most negative coverage was reserved for President Obama: He didn't see "a single week" in which positive press outweighed the negative, the AP notes. That was thanks in part to Republican attacks, a shaky economy, climbing gas prices, and the Supreme Court battle over ObamaCare. Ron Paul, on the other hand, got the most positive press—but he didn't get much coverage overall. Click through for more analysis of campaign coverage so far.