Sep 8, 2019

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Biden bombarded with bad headlines

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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Of the 100 stories about Joe Biden that have received the most social media attention over the last three weeks, 77 were negative, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

  • Of the 25 biggest, 24 were negative.

The big picture: While stories about Biden may be generating more interactions on social media than his 2020 rivals, it's largely because he's getting ripped apart in those pieces.

Social media has never been kind to moderation, and Biden is getting a lot of incoming from both sides of the political spectrum.

Why it matters: As Biden maintains his perch atop the 2020 field in the polls, both the right and the left have incentives to chip away at his position with intense scrutiny and attacks.

Yes, but: Biden is not helping his cause with his recurring erroneous statements.

The latest: In the last three weeks, the biggest Biden storylines (measured by interactions on articles on Facebook and Twitter) have been:

Between the lines: Among the 23 stories in the top 100 that were neutral or leaned positive about Biden, no storyline appeared twice, indicating that there haven't been clear threads of Biden's candidacy that are sparking significant enthusiasm among supporters.

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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Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Biden gets a lift as Dems target Trump over Ukraine

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Stories about Joe Biden generated millions more interactions on social media than any other 2020 Democrat last week after the firestorm over President Trump’s alleged attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate him, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when Biden has been straining to stay ahead in the polls while showered with negative coverage, this storyline has helped galvanize Democrats to back the former vice president in opposition to Trump.

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Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Beto finds a winning line

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With his blunt words, "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15," Beto O'Rourke saw a bigger spike in online attention than any of his 2020 Democratic rivals in the 3 debates, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke identified the right issue at the right moment. Since the El Paso and Dayton shootings, guns have risen to the forefront of the national conversation. For 3 straight weeks, and for 6 of the last 7, stories about guns have generated more interactions on social media than any other issue.

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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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy