With three years still to go before people vote, talks of the 2016 presidential election are already under way - and much speculation has been offered about the potential candidates and the issues that might be debated.
According to the Pew Research Center, the 2016 election has received more media coverage this year than either the 2012 or 2008 campaigns received during the same time periods. Pew Research says there have been 28 percent more campaign stories this year than in 2005 (three years before the 2008 campaign) and more than double that in 2009 (when an incumbent was running).
So who's getting the most media attention? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tops the list of potential Democratic 2016 candidates who have been included in coverage, with 66 campaign stories referring to her possible candidacy. Vice President Joe Biden trails far behind the former first lady with 35 stories; then come Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, and former Gov. Howard Dean.
The list of Republicans receiving the most mentions (in order) is headed by Sen. Marco Rubio (52), then Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Gov. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Gov. Nikki Haley, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Steve Deace, nationally syndicated talk radio host and Townhall contributor, says he isn't surprised with the attention Clinton is receiving.
"She would run largely unopposed," he observes. "I think there will be some token opposition, mainly just to give her a sparring partner if you will – and mainly people like the governor of Maryland [O'Malley] who want to raise their profile either for a future run or a potential high-profile position in a Hillary Clinton administration."
Deace predicts Clinton will face a tough road in regards to the issues important to voters.
"I do think that Hillary will have a lot of explaining to do about Benghazi on the campaign trail," he predicts. "I think you're going to see [her] run a very negative campaign on one hand about how 'extreme' every Republican is; and then on the other hand, [asking] Aren't you just glad to vote for the first woman?
"I think it will largely be a personality-based campaign and not an issue-based campaign because the issues will not be in her favor."
Deace maintains that if the Iowa caucus were held today, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas would win overwhelmingly.
The Pew Research Center report was based on newspaper articles from 15 of the nation's largest newspapers from January 1 – September 27, 2013.