Nov 29, 2019

Why Baby Yoda should scare Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick

Data: NewsWhip; Baby Yoda photo: Jon Favreau's Instagram; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Baby Yoda, the juggernaut character from Disney+'s Star Wars series "The Mandalorian," is driving almost twice as many average social media interactions on news stories about it as any 2020 Democrat, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The internet's most memeable 50-year-old broke through the online conversation in a huge way since the show's Nov. 12 premiere — and its viral success should worry the 2020 race's late Democratic entrants, Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick.

The big picture: Both Bloomberg and Patrick staked their runs on the idea that voters would hungrily embrace a fresh face to shake up the 2020 race — but compared to Baby Yoda, they're not exactly capturing the public's imagination.

  • Baby Yoda's introduction coincided with both Bloomberg and Patrick announcing their bids. Bloomberg officially jumped into the race over the weekend — but spent weeks telegraphing his run — while Patrick entered on Nov. 14.
  • Both of the newest 2020 Democrats have had a significant number of articles written about them since Nov. 12. Bloomberg ranks second among the Democratic pack with 7,650, while Patrick slots into fourth with 4,044.
  • That media saturation doesn't necessarily translate to reader interest. With Baby Yoda in the mix with the 2020 Democrats, Bloomberg ranks 14th and Patrick 16th in terms of average interactions (likes, comments, shares) per story about them — and Baby Yoda has notched an average interaction rate 10 times higher than theirs.

By the numbers: In terms of raw interactions since Nov. 12, Baby Yoda's 2.28 million trail only the Democratic race's group of frontrunners — Joe Biden (8 million), Bernie Sanders (2.9 million) and Elizabeth Warren (2.53 million).

  • But the rate of interactions is massive when you consider that Baby Yoda would only rank 10th in terms of the number of articles (1,368) written about it.

The bottom line: Because this data only captures interactions with news stories, it doesn't take in the wealth of Baby Yoda memes, GIFs, and content native to social media — meaning that the character's reach is probably far wider.

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Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Bloomberg finally upends the national conversation

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios — Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issues.

Stories about Michael Bloomberg last week generated 9.4 million interactions on social media — more than twice his previous high. Still, he's getting lapped by Bernie Sanders, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This was the point when Bloomberg converted massive spending into significant organic interest in his campaign, but it may be no match for the Sanders grassroots army.

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Michael Bloomberg is off to an attention-grabbing start

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios - Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issue.

In just three weeks, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has captured a level of media attention that's eluded most 2020 Democrats with months on the trail and in debates.

The big picture: Recent stories about Bloomberg generated more social media interactions than Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Julián Castro or Tom Steyer have ever gotten, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Go deeperArrowNov 30, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard is the 2020 field's lightning rod

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

While Democratic provocateur Tulsi Gabbard doesn't get written about as much as top-tier candidates, data suggests she's the most provocative.

The big picture: Her war of words with Hillary Clinton in October and her appeal to viral, right-wing media have driven outsized interest in stories about her, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019