Updated Aug 30, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Warren dodging attacks, winning praise

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

When negative coverage is excluded, stories about Elizabeth Warren are going farther online than coverage of any of the other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has been able to strike a balance of being discussed a lot without being the target of sustained criticism or media pile-on that other top candidates have endured. And many of the biggest stories about her have been downright glowing.

The big picture: Running on a platform to remake the economy with ambitious, hard-left policy proposals like her wealth tax, Warren has steadily climbed in the polls. A Monmouth poll this week has her even with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders atop the field.

  • Her relatively sterling political record has shielded her from criticisms that have dogged Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
  • To the left, Bernie Sanders has insulated her from the brunt of attacks on redistributive policies.

By the numbers: Axios analyzed the 50 stories that have generated the most interactions (comments, likes, shares) on Facebook and Twitter about each of the top eight candidates in polling over the last four months.

We then subtracted stories that were critical of the candidates, painted them in a negative light or explicitly boosted a different candidate. These largely came from conservative media outlets.

  • Sanders had the most interactions in this period when all coverage is counted (9.94M vs. Warren's 5.58M), but when the negative stories are removed, Warren moves ahead (4.08M vs. 4.06M).
  • Over these 4 months, Biden had 8.09M, but dropped to 2.78M after stripping out negative coverage, while Harris fell from 4.81M to 2.40M.

Between the lines: While many of the stories about other candidates that have generated the most interactions are straightforward news articles, more of Warren's biggest articles have been commentary with positive overtones:

1. I Want to Live in Elizabeth Warren’s America (NYT — 350k interactions)

4. Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious (NYT — 204k)

5. Slowly and Persistently, Elizabeth Warren Is On the Rise (New York Magazine — 202k)

8. The Very Real Possibility of President Elizabeth Warren (Rolling Stone — 152k)

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

See all past editions of the tracker here.

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