Show an ad over header. AMP

As pandemic rages, Trump left without news to rally around

Data: Newswhip; Graphic: Axios Visuals — Note: Hover over the graphic on desktop to see weekly articles and interactions for candidates and issues.

The three topics generating the most intense interest online are the coronavirus, racial injustice and foreign policy, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios — and all are issues that are working against President Trump right now.

Why it matters: Storylines in Trump's populist sweet spot that carried the news cycle for much of his presidency — immigration, trade, a strong economy — have fallen away during the pandemic.


  • On the coronavirus, Trump's hopes for a swift return to normal have been thwarted by a ferocious surge of cases across the country. His defiance of public health guidance — from hosting a rally in Tulsa to dismissing the importance of mask wearing — have backfired as other Republicans are increasingly promoting a more cautious approach.
  • On race, Trump finds himself fighting against the current on public opinion as he stresses "law and order" rather than empathy in the wake of the George Floyd protests. 36% approve of the way he is handling race relations, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. By 22 percentage points, voters say Joe Biden would do a better job on the issue.
  • On foreign relations, Trump continues to be criticized for not acting against Russia over reported intelligence that it offered bounties to the Taliban to kill coalition troops in Afghanistan. The single Trump story with the most social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) last week was Iran issuing a warrant for Trump's arrest over the January killing of Qasem Soleimani.

Between the lines: The topics in Trump's wheelhouse that dominated headlines for much of his presidency have either begun to work against him or become irrelevant during the pandemic.

  • Economy: Recent outbreaks of the virus have diminished hope of a sharp V-shaped recovery, and economic pain may still be widespread come Nov. 3. One bright spot for Trump: he still has a slight edge over Biden in Americans' confidence on the economy — one of the only issues where that's still true.
  • Immigration: An issue that ranked No. 1 on social media for much of 2019, and has been a big motivator for Trump's base, is now far down on the list of issues salient in voters' minds as new visa issues have nearly disappeared during the pandemic.

The bottom line: Though Trump stories continue to attract more attention on social media than Biden — and many times over — those stories have been damaging and have been accompanied by cratering polling.

Locker Room wants to reinvent how fans talk sports

Locker Room, a social audio app where fans can talk sports and spontaneously join live conversations, launches Tuesday on the App Store.

The state of play: The company behind Locker Room, Betty Labs, has raised $9.3 million in seed funding led by Google Ventures with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Axios has learned.

Keep reading... Show less

The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals

Some states are seeing dangerous levels of coronavirus hospitalizations, with hospitals warning that they could soon become overwhelmed if no action is taken to slow the spread.

Why it matters: Patients can only receive good care if there's enough care to go around — which is one reason why the death rate was so much higher in the spring, some experts say.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: The Lincoln Project is becoming a media business

The Lincoln Project is looking to beef up its media business after the election, sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: The group recently signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to help build out Lincoln Media and is weighing offers from different television studios, podcast networks and book publishers.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump, Biden strategies revealed in final ad push

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.

Keep reading... Show less

How NASA and the Space Force might fare under Biden

Joe Biden hasn't gone out of his way to talk about outer space during his presidential campaign. That could be bad news for NASA's exploration ambitions, but good news for the Space Force.

The big picture: NASA faces two threats with any new administration: policy whiplash and budget cuts. In a potential Biden administration, the space agency could get to stay the course on the policy front, while competing with other priorities on the spending side.

Keep reading... Show less

Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal coronavirus response has only gotten worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans believe the federal government's handling of the pandemic has gotten significantly worse over time, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Every other institution measured in Week 29 of our national poll — from state and local governments to people's own employers and area businesses — won positive marks for improving their responses since those panicked early days in March and April.

Keep reading... Show less

Republicans and Democrats react to Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences at the rush to confirm a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Keep reading... Show less

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories