According to Editor and Publisher’s running tally, so far Barack Obama has over two times as many newspaper endorsements as his flagging Republican challenger John McCain.

The Obama-Biden ticket has been endorsed by 194 daily and weekly newspapers, compared to 82 favouring McCain-Palin. In terms of circulation, the newspapers supporting Obama have 20 million, whilst those supporting McCain have just over 6 million.

While the accumulation of endorsements is not necessarily a portent of an election victory — John Kerry shaded George W. Bush in the 2004 endorsement tally — Obama has a number of notable newspapers on his side, including Sarah Palin’s hometown broadsheet, the Anchorage Daily News.

The editor of E & P Greg Mitchell told NPR’s On the Media, that one of the most surprising aspects about the GOP leaning papers, who only four years ago endorsed Bush but have since endorsed Obama, was the “almost disgust that many of these papers… express about the pick of Sarah Palin. You read these quotes in these editorials, it’s startling how many say flatly that she is unqualified, that the pick showed that McCain, you know, lacks judgment…”

Just don’t tell that to The New York Post, who dubbed Palin a “charming, but rock solid, outsider.”

Crikey have picked some of the more interesting publications from the list:

The New York Times

The third-highest selling newspaper in the US, the broadsheet publicly stated its preference on October 24:

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States. Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. – NY Times editorial

Los Angeles Times

The second-largest metropolitan newspaper in the Unites States, the LA Times refused to endorse either candidate during the 2004 election. It has backed the Illinois senator in the 2008 race:

We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty. The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president. — LA Times editorial

New York Post

The second-most popular New York tabloid is one of the only newspapers in the top 10 circulation to publicly endorsed Republican nominee John McCain:

The Post today enthusiastically urges the election of Sen. John S. McCain as the 44th president of the United States. McCain’s lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent, freshman Sen. Barack Obama. — NY Post editorial

Newspapers that have switched sides

The tide of editorial support is rushing in Senator Obama’s direction and, having backed George W. Bush during the 2004 election, 38 of the country’s dailies have switched sides. Here are a handful of the more significant defectors:

Daily News

A newspaper with a circulation of just over 700,000, the New York tabloid states its case for change:

The need for a fresh start in America has grown markedly in the two years of this presidential campaign, and became imperative as the crippled financial system punishes workers, families and retirees in the country. The U.S. is in want of leadership that repairs a damaged economy, restores faith in government as an engine for the common good and returns competence to the White House after the spectacular failures of the Bush administration. Barack Obama holds the greater promise of accomplishing the mission than does John McCain. — Daily News editorial

Houston Chronicle

The largest paper in President George W. Bush’s home state, and the ninth-highest circulated daily in the Unites States, the Chronicle argues Obama is the man best equipped to lead the country out of these dark times:

After carefully observing the Democratic and Republican nominees in drawn-out primary struggles as well as in the general campaign, including three debates, the Chronicle strongly believes that the ticket of Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden offers the best choice to lead the United States on a new course into the second decade of the 21st century. Obama appears to possess the tools to confront our myriad and daunting problems. He’s thoughtful and analytical. He has met his opponents’ attacks with calm and reasoned responses. — Houston Chronicle editorial

Chicago Tribune

In a damning rebuke of the Bush presidency, Barack Obama is the first Democratic Party nominee to be endorsed in the 160-year history of the conservative Tribune — the largest newspaper in the Senator’s home state:

In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven’t experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It’s a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn’t forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust. On Nov. 4 we’re going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose. The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States. — Tribune editorial

Hartford Courant

In its 244-year history Conneticut’s largest daily newspaper has only ever endorsed one other Democratic nominee, two-term President Bill Clinton:

Mr. Obama has the right qualities of leadership, the elevating, can-do message that “we are the ones we have been waiting for” and the calm temperament for these anxious times. He has the counsel of such trusted figures as former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell and investment legend Warren Buffett. The son of a black Kenyan and a white Kansan, Mr. Obama is a transformative figure, as Mr. Powell has said. He would be the first African American president if elected. — Courant editorial

Hometown favourites (or not)

The Arizona Republic

The largest newspaper in the state, and the tenth most popular by circulation in the US, is supporting their hometown candidate, Senator John McCain:

We have witnessed John McCain become a leader – not only of a delegation from a fast-growing Southwestern state, but into a national leader with a reassuring habit of stepping to the front when things seemed most difficult. Nobody in the country knows the Republican presidential candidate better than we do. And no one is better placed to judge whether he would serve honorably and admirably as president of the United States. — The Arizona Republic editorial

Anchorage Daily News

Despite the presence of their state’s governor on the Republican ticket, the most read newspaper in Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama to become the next US president:

Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. — Anchorage Daily News editorial

The News Journal

The largest paper in Delaware – the home state of Obama’s running mate Joe Biden — has endorsed the Illinois senator:

Obama’s ability to stay on message in the Senate and through an arduous primary campaign and the general election contest, his inspiring composure and civility throughout the debates and his penetrating analyses of both domestic and foreign policy issues convince us he not only “understands,” he possesses the temperament, intelligence, integrity, moral clarity and skill to lead this country through crisis to new and greater horizons. — The News Journal editorial

For the full list of endorsements, go to Editor and Publisher.

Peter Fray

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