Jul 16, 2019

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Readers tune out

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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Interest in the 2020 Democratic primary plunged last week as articles about the candidates generated just 6.5 million combined social media interactions — the fewest since mid-January, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios. Articles about President Trump generated 23.2 million interactions.

Why it matters: It's a reminder of the president's stranglehold on the public interest. He's capable of single-handedly steering the news cycle, as he did with his attacks on Democratic congresswomen.

Between the lines: The numbers also indicate that 2020 Democrats lack a lightning rod media sensation who can drive the conversation like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (4.8 million interactions).

  • Democratic challengers will have to decide whether to mix it up to steal some of the limelight or stay above the fray.

What's going on: The Democratic field lacked storylines that found a foothold last week.

  • The biggest story about a candidate was on Kamala Harris' proposal to require rent, utilities and cellphone bill payments to be incorporated into credit scores as part of her policy for addressing the black homeownership gap. (MarketWatch, 208k interactions)

What people were reading with their attention off of the 2020 race:

  • Trump's tweets attacking progressive House Democrats of color.
  • The mounting case against Jeffrey Epstein.
  • The pressure against and subsequent resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
  • Megan Rapinoe's speech at the World Cup championship parade.
  • Nancy Pelosi vs. freshmen House Democrats.
  • U.S. budget deficit up 23%, Treasury requests increased debt ceiling.

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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