Apr 14, 2020

Axios AM

Mike Allen

📦 Situational awareness: Amazon announced that it has fulfilled its pledge of hiring 100,000 new employees, and is now "creating an additional 75,000 jobs to help serve customers during this unprecedented time."

You're invited: What's Andrew Yang up to?! Axios will host a live virtual event on the future of fintech and consumer privacy tomorrow (April 15!) at 12:30 p.m. ET. Live convos with Yang and Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin. Register here.

  • Smart Brevity™ count: 1,338 words ... 5 minutes.
1 big thing: Biden triumph opens Dems' map against Trump
Data: Real Clear Politics. Chart: Axios Visuals

Joe Biden's resurgence is opening new paths to defeat President Trump, swing-state polls show.

  • Why it matters, from Axios' Neal Rothschild: If Biden can keep his current leads over Trump in general-election matchups, it could create opportunities for pickups of three big states — Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.
  • That's without hurting Dems' chances of taking back Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the key wins that sent Trump to the White House.

The Real Clear Politics national polling average shows that either Biden (+5.9%) or Sanders (+4.2%) would have been positioned to defeat Trump if the election were held today. But the Electoral College means the results will come down to a handful of key states.

  • Sanders' endorsement of Biden yesterday shows a quick turn toward unity for Democrats. In 2016, it took Sanders until July to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Reality check: State polls have a shoddy track record in forecasting Trump's performance.

  • Clinton had more than a 75% chance to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, according to FiveThirtyEight's pre-election forecasts.
  • She lost all three.

The Trump campaign's Erin Perrine said: "Just ask pollsters in 2016 how their predictions worked out for them."

2. Axios-Ipsos Index Week 5: Grocery risk
Data: Axios-Ipsos survey. Margin of error: ±3.3 points. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Seven in 10 people now consider going to the grocery store a risky act — and a majority of Americans say they've started wearing masks outside their homes at least sometimes, Axios' Margaret Talev writes from the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • "Those who still work out in the world are particularly concerned about the risks they are running, and those laid off are reporting increasing debt and familial conflict," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

In Week 5 of the poll (1,098 adults), there's more evidence that the virus is impacting society unevenly:

  • 57% of those still leaving the home to work as they normally would say they feel that doing their job is moderately or very risky, compared with 13% of those working from home.
  • African Americans (50%) and Hispanics (47%) are more likely than non-Hispanic whites (37%) to see their work as risky to their health or well-being.

One in five Americans now know someone who's tested positive.

  • Four in five worry about getting sick themselves, though only one in five is "extremely concerned."

Masks, more than gloves, are becoming part of Americans' daily uniform:

  • 56% said they wear a mask occasionally, sometimes or all the time (30% said all the time), while only 37% said they ever wear gloves out.
  • Democrats (71%), older Americans (65%) and women (63%) were more likely to say they're wearing masks some or all of the time. That's higher than Republicans (50%), independents (49%), men (49%) and younger age groups.
  • Counterintuitively, people still working outside the home (46%) were less likely than those working remotely (60%) to say they were wearing masks.

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3. CFOs see recovery moving further away
Data: PwC CFO Pulse Survey. Chart: Axios Visuals

PwC's survey of U.S. chief financial officers shows 26% anticipate layoffs at their companies, a marked increase from two weeks ago when the survey found only 16% expected layoffs, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin writes.

  • "There's a growing realization that ... controlling the virus is simply going to take longer than we thought," Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner at PwC, told Axios during a media call Monday.

PwC found 82% of CFOs are now focused on reducing costs, compared to 62% in March (most companies' No. 1 cost is their employees).

  • 💰 Sign up for Dion Rabouin's daily newsletter, Axios Markets.
Bonus: Cover du jour
Courtesy N.Y. Post
4. Pictures of America

Photo: Angie Wang/AP

This is a drone photo of Emma Pritchett's home after a tornado hit Chatsworth, Ga.

  • Tornadoes and other severe weather killed more than 30 people in the Southeast, piling fresh misery atop the pandemic — 11 in Mississippi, 9 in South Carolina, 8 in Georgia and 3 in Tennessee, AP reports.

Others died under falling trees or inside collapsed buildings in Arkansas and North Carolina.

  • In Alabama, people seeking shelter from tornadoes huddled in community shelters, protective masks covering their faces against the coronavirus.
5. Split-screen America

Screenshots via CNN, MSNBC, Fox News

President Trump opened his daily coronavirus briefing with a campaign-style video reel that showed media clips favorable to him and soundbites of governors praising his handling of the crisis, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • "We're going to get back to the reason we are here, which is the success we are having, OK?" Trump said. "Please. You can put it up," he said, cueing the AV team to roll the montage.

Trump said of his pandemic powers: "When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total. ... The governors know that."

  • Fact check: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Bill of Rights
Trump steps off the podium as a White House-produced video begins to play near the start of his daily coronavirus briefing. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

CBS News' legendary Mark Knoller reports that yesterday's briefing was Trump's longest to date — 2 hours, 24 minutes, topping April 2's 2 hours, 15 minutes, CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid tweets.

6. 🎓 Colleges make plans for "100% online" fall

Harvard last month. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Universities "across the country have begun planning for what was once an unthinkable scenario but now may be a real possibility: a fall semester without students on campus," the Boston Globe's Deirdre Fernandes reports.

  • Harvard, MIT and Brown are among them.
  • "[E]ven if students are allowed to return, international students may be blocked from entering the United States or have trouble getting their visas."
7. First look: "America's carbon advantage"
Cover: Foreign Affairs

Former Secretaries of State James Addison Baker III and George P. Shultz, and Climate Leadership Council chairman and CEO Ted Halstead write in the forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs:

Internationally, only a U.S.-led climate alliance can muster enough economic leverage to compel China, India, and other major economies to join, face carbon tariffs, or ultimately risk being shut out of the world’s largest market.

Keep reading.

8. 50 years ago: "Houston, we’ve had a problem here"
The New York Times

This was the front page 50 years ago today — April 14, 1970 — after an oxygen tank explosion robbed Apollo 13 of a Moon landing,

  • Coolly guiding the three astronauts' safe return was Mission Control’s finest hour.

🤨 A little trivia for ya ... Apollo 13's best known quote originated not in space but in Hollywood, AP writes.

  • The astronauts urgently radioed: "OK, Houston, we've had a problem here."
  • "This is Houston. Say again, please."
  • "Houston, we've had a problem."

Screenwriters for the 1995 film "Apollo 13" wanted to punch that up.

  • Thus was born: "Houston, we have a problem."

Lift off.

9. Sneak peek ... Out today

Cover: Harper

Madeleine Albright, America’s first female secretary of state, writes in her memoir about post-government life, "Hell and Other Destinations," that the BBC's World War II radio broadcasts from London, where her family was living in exile, were introduced by a kettledrum playing the first notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony: Dah-dah-dah-dum.

  • In Morse Code, that was V (dot-dot-dot-dash), the Allies' symbol for victory.
  • Albright now wears a big V-shaped pin, and is calling for a new alliance — for victory over the virus.  She will wear it on her "virtual book tour," says Robert Barnett, who represented her along with Deneen Howell.

🥊 Albright says: "I never expected ... that the title would so closely reflect the national condition."

10. 1 smile to go: Boomers to Zoomers

Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Expect more family video chats from grandma and grandpa moving forward, even after stay-at-home orders come to an end, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.

  • Passover Seders and Easter celebrations across the country prompted many seniors to finally take the plunge and download Zoom.

Older generations are usually slow to adopt new technologies, but history shows that when they finally do learn, they're hooked.

  • The Silent Generation — those born during and before 1945 — is Facebook's fastest-growing user base.

Several millennials told Axios about lengthy, painful and comical FaceTime calls with grandparents and parents to walk through Zoom's install process.

  • "On the second night of Passover, I experienced a new kind of plague — trying (and failing) to get my grandmother onto Zoom," said Jenny Hurwitz, 30, general manager of a recruiting company in New York City.
  • "After spending 57 minutes on FaceTime trying to explain the process (all while checking the brisket and stirring the matzo balls) we realized it wasn't going to happen and gave up."

A 29-year-old social media manager living in D.C. said: "We stared at grandma's chin the whole time because she couldn't position the camera on her iPad correctly."

Mike Allen

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