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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 issue.

Elizabeth Warren, who rose to the top with big liberal bets, is banking a big slice of her presidential run on full-throated support for Medicare for All. 

Why it matters: Warren is taking a beating on social media after claiming middle class Americans won’t pay higher taxes to fund health care coverage fully paid for by taxpayers, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios. At the same time, her poll numbers nationally are slipping. 

The bigger picture: Numerous prominent Democrats have told us Trump will feast on Warren’s plan to eliminate private insurance to force everyone onto Medicare. They worry she has no wiggle room to backtrack if she wins the nomination because her entire reputation is wrapped around not buckling on big debates like health care. 

By the numbers: Of the 50 biggest stories over the last two weeks about Elizabeth Warren's plan to pay for Medicare for All, 70% were negative, according to NewsWhip data.

  • Criticism around how to pay for the plan has been accompanied by a rapid descent in the polls. After briefly overtaking Joe Biden atop the 2020 Democratic polling average on Oct. 8, Warren has tumbled and now trails Biden by 7.2 points.

Between the lines: The blowback against Warren is a natural consequence of her emergence as a top threat in the race, illustrated by the incoming she faced in the October debate.

  • It is a reversal of a trend we saw in the summer, in which Warren was the beneficiary of glowing stories and subsequently climbed in polling.
  • The criticism picked up following the debate after she danced around questions of whether the plan would require a middle-class tax hike.

Between the lines: While not explicitly about Warren, a Yahoo Finance article from late October that calculates the taxes necessary to pay for Medicare for All was the biggest article associated with Warren in 2019 on social media with 820k interactions (likes, comments, shares).

  • According to NewsWhip data, the criticism picked up steam in the wake of her announcement of how to pay for the plan, which requires an additional $20.5 trillion of federal spending.

The top negative stories in the last two weeks:

  1. The Democratic plan for a 42% national sales tax (Yahoo) — 820k interactions
  2. Warren agrees Medicare-for-All could result in two million jobs lost: 'This is part of the cost issue' (Fox News) — 43k
  3. Warren says health insurance workers laid off under 'Medicare-for-all' can work in auto, life insurance (Fox News) — 42k
  4. Elizabeth Warren Says Massive Job Loss Is Part of the Cost of Medicare-For-All (IJR) — 40k
  5. Elizabeth Warren Wants To Pay for Medicare for All With a $9 Trillion Tax That Will Hit the Middle Class (Reason) — 40k

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.

Go deeper: See all past editions of the tracker here.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.