Dec 17, 2020 - Health

Trump states shut out COVID headlines as virus rages

Data: SocialFlow; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios
Data: SocialFlow; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

States that voted for President Trump tend to have high coronavirus caseloads compared to how much COVID content they read online, while the opposite is true of states that voted for President-elect Biden, according to exclusive data from social media management platform SocialFlow.

Why it matters: The trend highlights a widespread rejection of coronavirus news and information in states that supported Trump, even in areas where the virus has gotten particularly deadly.

"It’s clear that stories about COVID simply don’t animate red state residents the same way they do those in blue states," SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson tells Axios. "This chart would look quite different if we were able to run it on the topic of election fraud."

By the numbers: Blue states account for the 15 biggest differences among states that read more coronavirus content relative to their caseloads.

  • Red states account for 11 of the 12 biggest differences among states that have bigger caseloads compared to the amount of coronavirus content they read.
  • All five Biden-voting states among the 25 with bigger caseloads were battlegrounds, not strongly Democratic.
  • SocialFlow tracks clicks to content from roughly 4,000 media entities, generating roughly 11 billion clicks to publisher sites per year. COVID-related pages include news stories, commentary and information resources.

States in the Plains and upper Midwest — North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Nebraska — were the top five states for coronavirus cases per capita, while Northeastern states have a number of the lowest per-capita caseloads.

  • The Dakotas are the rare instances where states rank highly on both cases and online COVID consumption. North Dakota ranks 1st and 4th, respectively, while South Dakota ranks 2nd and 9th.
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