Top Topics & Senate races
In our 2022 election report, we look at the topics that have moved the needle in 2022 — from the ‘Roe v. Wade’ decision, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to news about the economy. We also looked at some of the data from six of the tightest Senate races.
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Political topics 2022
We begin by looking at the engagement with political topics and measuring the amount of media coverage, the total engagement to those articles, and the average engagement to those articles.
The most engaged topic of the year by a considerable distance was foreign affairs. This encompasses world news of all kinds, but for our purposes is almost exclusively driven by the coverage of Ukraine, beginning in February.
The economy has also been a major concern for people, with more than 3 million articles written about the economy at large, and by far the most dominant domestic topic that we looked at.
System of government here encompasses voting rights and the Supreme Court, which saw a surge in interest thanks to some high-profile decisions, including the court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
The top five topics all received more than 100 million interactions this year, and the Roe v. Wade decision was a particularly high driver of interest, with stories about abortion averaging 145 engagements per article — higher than any other topic than the System of Government one, which also saw a significant amount of its engagement driven by the Roe decision.
Engagement to different political topics in 2022
|System of government
The chart opposite shows the dramatic rise and fall in interest in foreign affairs, principally driven by the war in Ukraine.
There was a huge spike in interest when Russia invaded in February, but recently the public has been paying far less attention than it was earlier in the year.
In recent weeks, the top stories have been about Russia and China, with some combining the two countries.
The purchasing of Russian oil and gas has been a major topic, while the WSJ’s analysis of the army that won the battle of Kyiv was the top story overall.
Public interest in foreign affairs articles
The chart opposite shows two very clear spikes in public interest in abortion reporting — first when the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe was leaked and then when the decision actually came into force.
The interest has faded away quite dramatically, and is now roughly at the levels it was at before the decision was announced. This is partly due to a parallel drop in number of articles written, though these have not dropped as dramatically as engagement.
In more recent times, the top stories have been about political positions on abortion, with Republicans often criticized.
Public interest in abortion articles
“It’s the economy, stupid” — or so the famous saying goes, and that may well prove to be the case in the 2022 midterms.
Interest in reporting about the economy has been fairly consistent all year, and it has emerged as comfortably one of the largest topics of interest as we head into crunch time for the election.
Karine Jean-Pierre’s comments about job creation, reposted by video site Rumble, were by far the top story, while CEOs asking their workers to return to the office appeared in two of the top five stories.
Public interest in economy articles
In Georgia, incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock is facing up against Georgia football legend Herschel Walker, in a race dominated by the latter’s scandals.
The Georgia race exploded in interest at the beginning of October when the Daily Beast reported that a former girlfriend of Walker’s claimed that he had paid for her to have an abortion, even though the Republican candidate now pushes anti-abortion rhetoric.
Criticism from one of his sons — now a conservative influencer —followed, who talked about Walker abandoning him and his mother.
Despite this, two of the top articles were pro-Walker, with a piece about Dana Loesch’s comments on the scandal and a piece on respective debate performances.
Public and media interest in Georgia Senate Race
In Pennsylvania, celebrity candidate Dr. Oz is taking on the Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
The campaign has been consistently digitally-focused, with Fetterman’s campaign frequently mocking Oz for his history of perceived gaffes. As a result of this savvy campaign, it has been the most written about and engaged-with of the six Senate races that we looked at, with more than 22k articles written since the beginning of September.
Though Fetterman has been dominant on Twitter in particular, the top articles have tended to focus on Oz, with a number of negative articles written about the Republican candidate.
Public AND Media interest in Pennsylvania Senate Race
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