Jan 11, 2020

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Iran strike boosts Sanders' anti-war stature

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Data: Newswhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bernie Sanders' response to the Trump administration's strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani generated far more attention than his 2020 Democratic rivals, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: The numbers point to Sanders' elevated stature as an anti-interventionist voice in the race — one that has been sharpened nationally going back to his campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Between the lines: The four biggest stories about Sanders and Iran were about the senator introducing legislation, along with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), to block "Pentagon funding for any unilateral actions" taken by President Trump "to wage war against Iran without congressional authorization."

The big picture: Sanders' frequent criticisms of America's involvement in "endless wars" have boosted his case about the urgency of prioritizing domestic issues — and also served as an attack on his opponents for supporting the Iraq War, which became deeply unpopular.

By the numbers: Of the 100 biggest stories about 2020 candidates and Iran since last Thursday, stories about Sanders generated 877k interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares).

  • That's more than 200,000 more than Joe Biden, the next highest.

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

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Sanders snatches attention lead from Biden ahead of Iowa

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.

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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders-Warren battle upstaged by viral right-wing media

Sanders and Warren's tense discussion after Tuesday's debate. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The dispute between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over whether he said a woman can't win may be the most explosive story of the Democratic primary so far — but it wasn't even the biggest story about Sanders on social media this week.

The big picture: A viral video from right-wing Project Veritas about a Sanders field organizer underscores how splintered the partisan digital universe is — and how difficult it is to get different slices of the electorate to pay attention to the same things.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020