Discover more from The Intersection
Big shifts in the Republican race post-debate
Plus: Vivek wins online, negative partisanship buoys Trump, a "friendship recession," YouTube's algorithm leans left, what religious activity predicts
No. 282 | August 25, 2023
“The first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate is in the books, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy seem to have made the best impressions.
We know that thanks to fresh data from a FiveThirtyEight/Washington Post/Ipsos poll, conducted using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel in the hours immediately following the debate. We surveyed the same group of likely Republican primary voters before and after the debate, allowing us to see how much it may have shifted public opinion. All pre- and post-debate numbers below are limited to respondents who watched some or all of the debate.”
The Intersection is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Philip Bump: Vivek Ramaswamy won the online attention contest in the GOP debate (The Washington Post)
“Vivek Ramaswamy came into the first debate of the 2024 Republican nominating contest prepared to do what he’s been doing, fairly successfully, for the duration of the campaign to date: pluck popular, often misleading rhetoric from the fringe of right-wing media and internet chatter and present it back to an audience that loves it. On the debate stage, that meant staking out position after position that made more seasoned politicians balk. Like saying climate change was a hoax. Or that he would stop funding for Ukraine’s defense.
Ramaswamy’s ploy worked. Analysis of Google search interest — a good proxy for evaluating which debate participants triggered the most curiosity of viewers — indicates that no one saw a consistent level of interest equivalent to Ramaswamy during the debate’s two hours.”
“After months of campaigning, the Republican National Committee determined that eight candidates have met the polling, donor, and pledge requirements for tonight’s first GOP Presidential Primary Debate in Milwaukee, which will air on Fox News. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Doug Burgum, and Asa Hutchinson have all met the polling and donor requirements to be qualified to attend the debate. Despite meeting the donor and poll requirements, former President Donald Trump announced that he will not be attending any debates. It is unclear as to whether he signed the pledge to back the eventual winner of the GOP primary. Overall, Republican advertisers have placed $137M in spending reservations. So far, $91.7M of ads have aired. This is 61% more than Democratic advertisers spent in the 2020 Presidential primary before August 23, 2019. The early primary states of Iowa ($29M) and New Hampshire ($17M) have seen most of that spending. Scott has seen the most total ad support and reservation of any candidate with $49.6M.”
“Less than six months before voters begin casting ballots in the first presidential caucuses and primaries, former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the field of Republican candidates. According to RealClearPolitics as of Aug. 22, Trump is receiving an average of 55.9% support in national polls of Republican voters compared with 14.6% for his nearest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Moreover, Trump’s margin over DeSantis has increased in recent months following indictments in multiple jurisdictions for allegedly criminal conduct including his notorious efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
What is perhaps even more surprising than Trump’s domination of the Republican nomination contest is his continued competitiveness in a potential general election matchup with President Biden. Despite all of the criminal charges filed against him, Trump remains locked in a near dead heat with Biden, receiving an average of 43.7% of the vote compared with 44.2% for Biden according to the most recent RealClearPolitics polling average.”
🗺️ Data Visualization
“On the afternoon of July 2, a Southwest Airlines pilot had to abort a landing at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. A Delta Air Lines 737 was preparing to take off on the same runway. The sudden maneuver avoided a possible collision by seconds.
Nine days later, in San Francisco, an American Airlines jet was accelerating down the runway at more than 160 miles per hour when it narrowly missed a Frontier Airlines plane whose nose had almost jutted into its path. Moments later, the same thing happened as a German airliner was taking off. In both cases, the planes came so close to hitting the Frontier aircraft that the Federal Aviation Administration, in internal records reviewed by The New York Times, described the encounters as ‘skin to skin.’”
📊 Public Opinion
Daniel Cox: America's "Friendship Recession" Is Weakening Civic Life (American Storylines)
“If you’ve read anything about America’s “Friendship Recession,” chances are that it cites a 2021 survey we conducted. It was one of the first major studies solely dedicated to the topic of friendship in years, and the results were jaw-dropping—Americans reported a massive drop in the number of close friends, with men experiencing the steepest decline.
Yet the shrinking of our friend groups is not an individual tragedy, but a collective one. Friendship predicts community involvement and civic participation. Sixty percent of Americans with at least six close friends say they have attended a local event or community meeting at least a few times in the past 12 months compared to only 33 percent of those with no close friends. Whether it’s going to the library, eating at a restaurant, or spending time at a bar, Americans with larger friend groups do all these things more often. Having more close friends also increases one's likelihood of talking to strangers. Seventy percent of Americans with at least six close friends report having had a conversation with a stranger at least a few times in the last 12 months. Americans with more close friends volunteer in their communities more often too.”
“Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Black Americans’ civil rights, we asked U.S. adults what they think is the bigger problem when it comes to racial discrimination in the country today.
“53% say people not seeing racial discrimination where it really does exist is the bigger problem.
45% point to people seeing racial discrimination where it really doesn’t exist as the larger issue.”
“The proliferation of online media consumption via YouTube has become a significant cultural phenomenon due to its position as a source of information and entertainment with more than 2 billion monthly active users worldwide. YouTube’s content continues to grow at a rapid scale, with over 500 h worth of content being uploaded each minute, covering a wide array of topics, including news and politics.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 25% of adults in the United States regularly get their news from YouTube, making it the second most popular online news source. The study also found that 60% of adults who use YouTube claim that they use the platform to keep up with current events regularly. Importantly, the means by which individuals consume content on YouTube differ, as users can either search for a particular video or watch videos recommended to them. According to YouTube’s CPO, 70% of videos watched on YouTube come via its recommendation algorithm. As such, this algorithm has been a subject of much discussion in recent years. While it is designed to personalize recommendations based on a user’s viewing history, it has also been criticized for contributing to filter bubbles and echo chambers.”