Tulsi Gabbard is the 2020 field's lightning rod
While Democratic provocateur Tulsi Gabbard doesn't get written about as much as top-tier candidates, data suggests she's the most provocative.
The big picture: Her war of words with Hillary Clinton in October and her appeal to viral, right-wing media have driven outsized interest in stories about her, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.
By the numbers: Over the last three months, stories about Gabbard have averaged 858 interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares) — more than any other candidate.
- The other leaders for interactions per story are the field's front-runners. Only Joe Biden (851) comes close, though many of the biggest articles about him are related to Trump, Ukraine and impeachment.
The backstory: Gabbard's friendly fire against Democrats has made for some of the most viral moments of the primary.
- She fired back after Hillary Clinton suggested that Russia was "grooming her to be the third-party candidate."
- She went after Kamala Harris for her criminal justice record in the July 31 debate.
- The two also mixed it up in the Nov. 20 debate.
- Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg also had a heated exchange in the November debate.
Between the lines: Her attacks on Democrats and the party have made her a favorite for right-wing media publications, many of which have supercharged social media audiences.
- Of the 15 biggest stories about Gabbard over the last three months, 12 have come from right-leaning publishers.
The top five stories:
- Tulsi Gabbard calls Hillary Clinton the ‘embodiment of corruption’ — New York Post (291k interactions)
- Gabbard dares Clinton to run for president in 2020, fights back against assertions that she is a Russian asset — Fox News (109k)
- Gabbard to Clinton: You are 'queen of warmongers ... personification of the rot that has sickened' Democrats — CNS News (103k)
- Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are 'grooming' Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run — CNN (90k)
- Gabbard threatens to boycott Ohio debate, claims DNC is 'rigging' primaries — Fox News (85k)
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.