Dec 19, 2022 - Health

What the health headlines told us about 2022

Share of voters who heard “a lot” about...
Reproduced from Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and the baby formula shortage overshadowed the COVID pandemic in generating interest among registered voters this year, per a Morning Consult analysis shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: Americans appeared ready to move on after two years of pandemic news and seized on other big health care story lines, Ricky Zipp, health data reporter at Morning Consult, told Axios.

What they are saying: "It was still — in health care, at least — very much a pandemic-driven new cycle, but the stories weren't resonating as much as others," Zipp said.

By the numbers: 71% of voters said they had seen coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to an analysis of weekly surveys Morning Consult conducted with a representative sample of roughly 2,000 registered voters.

  • That was followed by roughly 60% of voters who said they'd heard “a lot” about the infant formula crisis.
  • Pandemic news accounted for six of the top 15 headlines this year, including President Biden’s positive COVID-19 test, which was "the pandemic story that broke through the most," per Morning Consult.

The intrigue: Republicans and Democrats' engagement with abortion news after the Supreme Court's opinion dropped offered a window into the midterm election results, Zipp said.

  • For instance, 35% of Democrats said they'd heard "a lot" about Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposal for a federal 15-week abortion ban while only 16% of Republicans had. Likewise, 40% of Democrats said they'd heard "a lot" about a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana for an abortion. 22% of Republicans said the same.
  • "When the opinion was actually released, there was only a 5-percentage point gap between Democrats and Republicans," Zipp said about their awareness of abortion-related headlines.
  • "I thought almost every story would have been like that because this is an issue both sides are very charged about," he said. "But after that was released, Democrats were more likely to have read, see or hear it than Republicans on every single story they were surveyed for. And some of those gaps were pretty wide."
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