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With the current U.S. presidential campaign trail heating up, we thought it would be interesting to see how some popular—and some not-so-popular—past presidents fared in the media after they were no longer residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Conducting a search of the extensive media archives available in Nexis®, we looked back for spikes in news coverage with Nexis® Analyzer. Here’s what we discovered.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the President who famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” has seen frequent spikes in mentions over the years, most notably in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
On the other hand, former President Ronald Reagan maintained a low profile in the media, with mentions spiking only in 2004 at the time of his death.
Interestingly, two of our less popular former leaders, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, fared differently over time.
Our media analysis of Richard Nixon shows that the scandal that led to his resignation was still the cause for spikes in news coverage even 22 years later, peaking in 1996 with the release of both the Nixon White House tapes and the debut of Nixon, the film directed by Oliver Stone. The only other spike came amidst the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal, again drawing comparison with the Watergate cover-up.
Former President Jimmy Carter, who failed to achieve the popularity needed to win a second term, has fared much better, with fairly modest, steady coverage that only spiked in 2002 when he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” Other mentions over the years have generally maintained a positive spin, proving that popularity and approval ratings are not set in stone.
Using Nexis Analyzer enabled us to see trends and verify the reasons for those spikes in just a few clicks—a much faster way to achieve insight than reading through hundreds or even thousands of news articles. You probably don’t have plans to research the ongoing popularity of past presidents anytime soon, but imagine the insights you can gain by analyzing your news and business research results with greater efficiency. What would you like to discover?