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

In the homestretch before Iowa votes on Monday, Bernie Sanders has overtaken Joe Biden as the 2020 Democratic candidate getting the most attention online, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: Biden had led for the 17 weeks prior, and the numbers show that at the most important moment of the primary to date, Sanders' profile is peaking, accompanied by climbing poll numbers.

Between the lines: For much of the primary, most positive sentiment around Biden online has been around stories that point to his ability to beat Trump.

By the numbers: Stories about Sanders have generated more interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares) than stories about Biden over each of the last three weeks, totaling 20.1 million interactions to Biden's 14.2 million.

  • When Biden held the top spot, part of his lead could be attributed to his role in the saga that led to Trump's impeachment.
  • During that period, Sanders has eaten into Biden's national polling lead, narrowing a 10-point deficit to 5 percentage points, per the RealClearPolitics average. And he has taken a slight lead in Iowa, per FiveThirtyEight.

Yes, but: The interest online hasn't pushed Sanders past Biden in TV coverage. On cable news this month, Biden has been mentioned 9.3k times to Sanders' 7.4k, according to the the Internet Archive Television News Archive.

  • Sanders does hold an edge on network evening news telecasts, with 195 mentions to Biden's 157.

The big picture: The interactions numbers speak to a level of grassroots enthusiasm that often can't be fully captured by polling.

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 1 of 2016, Trump generated 62% more interactions than Hillary Clinton, despite consistently trailing in the polls.

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.

Go deeper

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.