Last week I mentioned that Dean's increased national exposure in TIME and Newsweek didn't effect his overall media share numbers because the Google News Poll does not account for the share of eyeballs of any particular instance of an article. Thus, wire reports, which may be printed in hundreds of locations, have a much bigger impact on poll position than is evidenced by exposure in the national news magazines. I also mentioned, however, that prominent exposure in one of those news magazines could lead to increased exposure in those same wire reports in the following weeks.
I think this weeks results strongly support that theory. Dean is back in the #1 position for only the second time in this polls history. However, this time Dean shares the top alone (last time he was essentially tied with Kerry).
I've done some reading of the articles that appear while compiling these results and I've noticed that Dean's increased prominence is primarily due to him becoming quoteworthy. In other words, when there is a national story, Dean is much more likely to be asked to comment on that story and anything he does say about it is much more likely to be quoted. Kerry used to be the most quoteworthy candidate in the field due primarily to his presumed front-runner status. I think this past week Dean may have stolen his crown.
Gephardt and Lieberman also had pretty good weeks. Both of them appear to be getting a good deal of press due to the fight to be the "Someone Else" in the "Dean vs. Someone Else" storyline. Gephardt is striving for this title by going the traditional route of union endorsements and campaign stumping. Meanwhile, Lieberman has essentially declared open war on the Dean campaign.
I personally think Lieberman's attacks on Dean are the last gasps of a desperate man. It remains to be seen whether Gephardt can be more successful.
Bob Graham was this week's loser, but I think this is more a case of his numbers having been artificially high in recent weeks (he was #1 last week). His high position may have primarily been due to his title as ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee more than anything to do with him as a candidate.
Kerry and Edwards are treading water. For Kerry this is not yet fatal. But Edwards really needs to pull something off in the next few weeks if he isn't to be downgraded to the third-tier of also-rans.
And, speaking of which, Kucinich has settled back into the third tier after a few weeks of threatening to break out. I'm not sure if he will have the energy to make another attempt. I haven't heard ANYTHING about Sharpton or Braun in weeks other than also-ran comments on joint campaign appearances with the other candidates.
(Methodology: All numbers are taken from the hit counts when searching on the Google News Service for news stories containing each candidate's name. Click on each name to rerun the search. You will get different results as the numbers are constantly changing. I make absolutely no claim that these numbers have any real meaning.)