GOULD: One Country Project’s Q3 Media Analysis and What it Means for North Dakota

It comes as no surprise that the economy and inflation were front and center in Americans’ minds and conversations this past quarter. As we go full steam ahead into the upcoming midterm elections, it is vital that candidates and their teams understand where national and rural audiences are keeping their focus. Fortunately, One Country Project (OCP) – an organization founded by former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp that aims to increase the representation of rural Americans in politics – released the third installment of its Rural Media Analysis. This Q3 Media Analysis serves to compare traditional media coverage from rural and national outlets, as well as rural traditional media and social media conversations in America.

In this analysis, OCP found that key moments of national policy have become central to rural media coverage as the midterms approach. Coverage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and inflation in general have moved from the outside perimeter of coverage in Q2 to become a more central focus of rural coverage in Q3. It is clear that Americans, especially rural Americans, are looking to ease the burden on their own pocket and will vote accordingly.

The economy is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to the main concerns of Americans in this election season. One Country’s Q3 data also shows that rural Americans are highly concerned about voting coverage and the upcoming elections. In North Dakota, we know that elections are incredibly important – and impossible to predict. We cannot forget 10 years ago when the largest newspaper in North Dakota ran the headline “Berg Has 10-Point Lead” on Heidi Heitkamp. We know how that turned out: voters turned up and cast their ballot, knowing that every vote matters. Polls and newspapers don’t always get it right, which is why it’s so vital to actually listen to the concerns and conversations of our citizens.

We cannot discuss important conversations and media leading up to the election without highlighting the recent attacks on women’s health care across America. Rural traditional media and social media both continue to focus on access to reproductive health care as many women, particularly in rural areas, already have limited access to daily and maternal care. We must continue to do our part and vote for candidates that will bring bright futures for women, workers, and the communities in North Dakota for generations to come. This election is in your hands.

View the full analysis here.

Tessa Gould
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