With just three weeks until Election Day for the 2022 midterms, local newspaper crime stories have seen a significant uptick in a number of Senate population strongholds, including Milwaukee, Las Vegas and Philadelphia, but a fall-off in mentions on local TV newscasts.
In Milwaukee, local newspaper articles referencing homicides have increased 32% from July 14 to October 14. Philadelphia has seen a 56% increase and Las Vegas a whopping 81%. Only Atlanta has seen a decrease in coverage around homicides, with a change of -55.79%. Those cities are all major population centers of states with key Senate races this year – Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia – that will likely determine who controls the chamber for the next two years.
For reference, Milwaukee had 192 local newspaper reports on homicides in October, up from 145 in July. Philadelphia went from 32 from July 14-Aug. 15, down to 16 the next month. However, this number spiked significantly up to 50 in the last month.
Articles referencing homicide in Las Vegas saw a major boost from July to August, going from 100 to 234, before tapering off down to 181 in October.
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Atlanta was the only city to see a major decrease over time, with 95 articles on homicides in July, dropping to 44 and then 42 over the following two months.
By comparison, coverage of robberies and murder have also largely seen an increase, with some variation. Articles referencing robberies in Milwaukee remained stagnant from August to October, with 64 articles making note of the crime statistic. Robberies were only mentioned 39 times from July 14-August 14. Coverage of murders reached its peak in from Sept. 14-Oct. 14, with 180 articles. The previous 30-day period saw 150 articles mention the crime stat, and 176 articles the month before that.
Coverage of murders in Philadelphia remained consistent over the last several months, but articles on murder increased, going from 18, to 22, and then up to 44.
In Las Vegas, robberies came up in articles 40 times in the last month. That number was cut in half, with only 20 articles on the crime stat from August 14-September 14. However, robberies saw their highest reporting threshold from July 14-August. 14, with 56 articles.
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Articles discussing murders were significantly less frequent in from July 14-August 14 versus the other two time periods. The first month saw only 43 articles, jumping to 155 and then 132 over the next two months.
Atlanta, meanwhile, saw a significant drop-off in robbery coverage, with only six articles in the last month, down from 30 and 10 the previous two. Coverage of murders has spiked since July, jumping from seven to 12 reports in the following month, before remaining consistent since then.
Local on-air references on crime told a bit of a different story.
On-air references of homicides in Milwaukee reached a massive peak in July, with 436 mentions. Yet, this number did not hold, dropping to 283 mentions, before cratering to 141 mentions in October.
Mentions of robberies and murders, by contrast, steadily increased over the last three months.
Las Vegas similarly saw a decrease in the number of references to homicides, but an increase in robberies.
Philadelphia saw a significant jump in mentions of homicides and murders, with the former rising from 21 references in July up to 71 mentions in October, and the latter increasing from 35 to 55.
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Atlanta has seen a steady drop-off of coverage on both homicides and robberies, but steady stream of murder mentions, hovering at around 50 references. Homicides from July 14-Aug. 14 sat at 110, before dropping to 90 from Aug. 14 to Sept. 14, and down to 84 over the following 30 days.
Robberies also saw a fall-off, going from 40, down to 34, and then 18.
Fox News Digital’s data regarding crime stories was acquired through a combination of Grabien transcript reviews and LexisNexis data analytics and research tools. LexisNexis searched mentions in local newspapers for the four cities, while Grabien found mentions of the terms on local newscasts.
Polling in the major Senate races has found crime to be a lower priority for voters than issues like the economy and inflation, but in tight races, even a marginal vote swing could make a difference.
A recent Fox News poll in Georgia found six percent of voters viewed crime as the most important issue to them, with a higher number of Black women (10 percent) and men (9 percent) giving that response than White women and men. The same poll showed Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., with a 46-41 percent advantage over Republican Herschel Walker, while Gov. Brian Kemp, R., led Democrat Stacey Abrams 50-43 percent.
In Pennsylvania, a Fox News survey also found six percent of respondents listing crime as the most important issue to their vote, including nine percent of non-White voters. In the survey, Democrat John Fetterman held a 45-41 percent advantage over Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.
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Perhaps of greater concern to Democrats is that crime has not only surpassed abortion among concerns for Americans nationally, but they also said they trust Republicans more than Democrats to handle it, giving them the highest lead on the issue in more than 30 years, according to a recent ABC/WaPo poll released last month.
According to the survey produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates in New York City, the economy (89%), education (77%) and inflation (76%) topped out the issues voters consider “highly important” as midterms loom, but those issues were followed closely by crime at 69%, which beat out abortion at 62%.
In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is trying to unseat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., while in Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., faces a Democratic challenger in Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
Fox News’ Jon Brown and David Rutz contributed to this report.