In just three weeks, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has captured a level of media attention that's eluded most 2020 Democrats with months on the trail and in debates.
The big picture: Recent stories about Bloomberg generated more social media interactions than Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Julián Castro or Tom Steyer have ever gotten, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.
- On Nov. 8, the day after it was first reported that Bloomberg was preparing to enter the race, he was mentioned more on cable news than any Democratic candidate other than Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on a single day this year, according to the Internet Archive Television News Archive.
- In November, Bloomberg has been mentioned more on cable news than every candidate except Biden and Elizabeth Warren.
- Bloomberg's mentions this month on cable news (4,486) have more than doubled Yang's throughout his entire campaign (2,167). Yet Yang is polling ahead of Bloomberg.
- For each of the last three weeks, stories about Bloomberg have generated more interactions (comments, likes, shares) on social media than another billionaire candidate, Tom Steyer, has ever gotten in the race.
Be smart: Bloomberg is packaging this earned media with an unprecedented self-funded multimillion-dollar television advertising blitz, giving the former New York mayor, businessman and philanthropist an unparalleled ability to reach voters.
By the numbers: The biggest wave of attention for Bloomberg came on the week of the New York Times report that he was preparing to jump in.
- While some of the early coverage has touched on Bloomberg's vulnerabilities with women and minority voters, the sentiment of the 10 biggest stories about Bloomberg was neutral and straightforward
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.
Why this tracker matters: The data on interactions — including likes, comments and shares — highlights an important, but under-appreciated element of an election: the ability to see beyond our own social feeds and understand the broader universe playing out of how candidates and issues are moving the minds of voters.
- It measures enthusiasm in a way that traditional polling does not.
- The sample size taken from these social media platforms is massive.
- Social media is powered by emotion-driven content, and emotional responses are likely to be aligned with a voter's true beliefs in a way that can be masked in polling.
While the volume of interactions does not gauge the sentiment of the reactions, the ability to generate reach allows a candidate to expand the universe of potential voters.
- Bots also cannot be ignored, and we will point out in this space if there are documented instances of bot activity for certain candidates or issues.
Methodology: This project measures the number of social media interactions generated on stories published about the 2020 candidates and issues.
- Interactions are calculated from reactions, comments and shares on those stories on Facebook as well as the number of shares from more than 300,000 influential Twitter accounts and retweets and likes on those posts.
- Tracked published stories come from a defined universe of more than 450,000 domains.
- A story registers for a candidate or issue if the keyword is mentioned in the headline, summary or URL of the story.
- Our search format for candidates looks like: "Joe Biden" OR ("Biden" AND ("President" OR "2020" OR "election" OR "Democrats" OR "primary")).
- For issues, we use a keyword tree for related terms.