Jul 25, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Breaking ... Scoop by Axios' Ashley Gold: Next week's House mega-hearing — featuring joint testimony by the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google — moves from Monday to Wednesday because of a memorial service for the late Rep. John Lewis.

🗳️ Happy Saturday! Tomorrow will be 100 days to Election Day.

  • Today's Smart Brevity™ count ... 996 words ... < 4 minutes.
1 big thing: Trump's iron grip on GOP opinion
Data: Axios/Ipsos polling. Chart: Danielle Alberti

Republicans do what President Trump says — in stark, measurable numbers.

Axios White House editor Margaret Talev and data visualization editor Danielle Alberti analyzed 17 weeks of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, and found:

  • Trump's words and actions have driven Republican perceptions and behavior on everything from wearing face masks to worry about economic collapse.

Why it matters: When Trump talks, his base listens. That carries profound implications for efforts to limit the spread in the U.S., since he so often contradicts public health officials or state and local leaders.

Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, says: "The influence of the leader in highly partisan times is really large ... It's true for any president, no matter which party."

  • "It’s called motivated reasoning: 'I see Trump, I like him, I think whatever he says is true,' or, 'I see Trump, I don’t like him, anything he says is not true.'"
Data: Axios/Ipsos polling. Chart: Danielle Alberti

Between the lines: Beyond mask use, we see correlations with Republicans resuming visits with friends and family and going out to eat; their trust in the federal government (a proxy for Trump) v. state government (governors); general concern about the virus; and fears about the U.S. economy collapsing.

  • We saw Republicans and Democrats starting out in different places back in March and April in terms of perception and behavior — then saw their disparate reactions widen over time.
Data: Axios/Ipsos polling. Chart: Danielle Alberti

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2. Attention tracker: Biden makes it about Trump
Data: Newswhip. Graphic: Axios Visuals

Even after emerging from his basement, Joe Biden has consumed less
of the online conversation, while his polling lead over President Trump has swelled, Neal Rothschild writes from NewsWhip data exclusive to Axios.

  • The takeaway: Biden's online interactions have dropped while his lead in the national polling average has climbed.
  • What's happening: Trump's punches aren't landing. Biden is avoiding scrutiny while Trump absorbs blowback from his responses to national crises.

Flashback: During this stretch of 2016, social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) on stories about Hillary Clinton continued to climb, nearly doubling from April to July — even before the party conventions began.

  • Biden's have plunged.
Data: Newswhip. Graphic: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: It's not that Biden is becoming more popular. Trump is just becoming less popular.

  • Biden's favorable ratings have held steady at 45% since March, per Quinnipiac polling.
  • Trump's have slipped from 39% to 34% since March.

The bottom line: The longer Trump is on defense — virus, economy, race — the harder it'll be to get attacks on Biden to stick.

3. Lewis to make one more journey across Edmund Pettus Bridge
Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP. Cover courtesy USA Today

John Lewis' final journey across Edmund Pettus Bridge:

  • Tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET, the body of Rep. John Lewis will be carried on a lone pilgrimage across the bridge in Selma where, at age 25, he was beaten by an Alabama state trooper as he fought for civil rights in 1965. (USA Today)
4. A new era: Supersized state intervention
Courtesy The Economist

The pandemic has led to a desperate scramble to enact macroeconomic policies "that only a few months ago were either unimaginable or heretical," The Economist writes in its lead editorial (subscription):

A profound shift is now taking place in economics as a result, of the sort that happens only once in a generation.
Much as in the 1970s when clubby Keynesianism gave way to Milton Friedman’s austere monetarism, and in the 1990s when central banks were given their independence, so the pandemic marks the start of a new era ... a supersized level of state intervention in the economy and financial markets.
Via Twitter

The bottom line: "Don’t fool yourself that the role of the state will magically return to normal once the pandemic passes and unemployment falls."

5. Kentucky teen gets second settlement
Screenshot via NBC News

"The Washington Post has settled a lawsuit brought by the parents of a teenager who alleged that news coverage of the teen’s encounter with a Native American activist on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last year was defamatory," The Post's Paul Farhi reports.

  • "The Post admitted no wrongdoing in settling with the family of Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington, Ky., high school student who was involved in the episode during a school trip to Washington in January 2019.
  • "The Sandmanns settled a similar lawsuit against CNN in January."
Via Twitter

Suits against other news organizations are pending.

6. 🏀 NBA's jersey messaging
Photo: Tim Reynolds/AP

The NBA released the list of social-awareness sayings that players will wear on the backs of their jerseys starting when the seeding games begin Thursday, and continuing through the season, AP's Tim Reynolds writes.

  • "Equality" was the most popular selection, accounting for 25% of the player choices — and it will be worn in nine languages. Besides English, players opted to wear it in their native Italian, French, Bosnian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, German, Spanish and Latvian.
  • "Black Lives Matter" was the second-most popular choice, at 16%.

16% of the players on rosters for the restart opted not to have a message.

7. ⚾ MLB opener was most-viewed regular-season game in 9 years
Fenway pitcher's mound yesterday. Photo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

ESPN announced that the opener for baseball's shortened season — Yankees @ Nats on Thursday night — drew 4 million viewers, the most-watched regular season MLB game on any network since 2011.

  • The second half of the opening-night doubleheader — S.F. Giants @ Dodgers at 10 p.m. ET — drew 2.8 million viewers, making it ESPN’s most-watched MLB regular season, late-night game ever.
8. 1 fun thing: 2 Trumps and a lie
Courtesy Seth Griffin

Seth Griffin, a chief creative officer in Birmingham, is raising money to produce a card game, "Two Trumps and a Lie," where you're read three quotes — two of which President Trump really said. Then you pick which one is bogus.

  • Griffin told me he designed it to be fun whether you're a lover or hater: "We can agree no one's as quotable as Trump."

Games are scheduled for delivery in December.

Courtesy Seth Griffin
Mike Allen

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