With the final weekend's endorsements now in hand, Barack Obama still has the backing of more newspapers than Mitt Romney. But a dozen newspapers have switched their allegiance from Mr. Obama in 2008 to his opponent Tuesday -- including the largest defector yet, the New York Daily News.
"Four years ago, the Daily News endorsed Obama, seeing a historic figure whose intelligence, political skills and empathy with common folk positioned him to build on the small practical experience he would bring to the world's toughest job," the Daily News wrote in its Sunday edition. "We valued Obama's pledge to govern with bold pragmatism and bipartisanship. The hopes of those days went unfulfilled."
The Daily News -- which endorsed Al Gore in 2000 but George W. Bush in 2004 -- joins 11 other papers that have defected from Mr. Obama to the GOP candidate, according to a tally of endorsements at the country's 100 largest papers by The American Presidency Project, including Newsday, the Houston Chronicle, the Orlando Sentinel and the Des Moines Register.
Mr. Obama also lost endorsements by seven papers that backed him last time but have since decided to quit choosing candidates at all.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, for example, endorsed Mr. Obama in 2008 but bowed out of the game entirely last month, arguing that endorsements don't change minds but do make readers suspect the paper's objectivity. "This loss of credibility is a high price to pay to conjure a ghost of newspapering past that we have come to believe is of little value today," the editorial page editor wrote.
For whatever their endorsements are worth, then, Mr. Obama still enjoys the backing of 41 of the country's biggest papers, compared with 34 for Mr. Romney. Mr. Obama picked up one paper that backed his opponent last time, the San Antonio Express-News. And the papers endorsing him reach more paying readers -- about 10 million, according to the tally by the American Presidency Project, compared with nearly 6.4 million for Mr. Romney.