The study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found the crucial final days of the race went Obama's way with his treatment in the press more favorable than in any week other than that following his nomination in North Carolina.
Obama, who won re-election Nov. 6, benefited from positive stories about his improving stand in the polls and reports about how the electoral votes were likely to stack up in his favor.
And while Obama received generally positive assessments of his response to Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm's greater impact apparently was that it reduced the amount of attention focused on Romney, Pew said.
The Pew study found from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, positive stories about Obama outnumbered negative ones by 10 percentage points (29 percent to 19 percent). That was a swing from the previous week when negative stories exceeded positive ones by 13 points, Pew said.
Romney, on the other hand, remained under a negative cloud that had hung over him in previous weeks (33 percent negative to 16 percent positive), Pew said.
The amount of coverage the two candidates received had been roughly equal for most of October, but it veered more heavily toward Obama in the final days. Pew said Obama was mentioned significantly in 8-of-10 campaign stories to 6-of-10 for Romney.
The Pew researchers said the tone on social networks varied, with Twitter traffic pumping up Romney, while blogs leaned toward Obama and Facebook not showing much change at the end of the campaign.