Who Cares?

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, speaks during a filibuster of an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas.
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

At the height of Cruzapalooza, a number of conservatives claimed the press was ignoring Cruz’s ‘filibuster’ while they’d all but gone giddy over Wendy Davis’ filibuster in the Texas state legislature. Some reporters even fell for it. Tone can be subjective. But at least in terms of the quantity of press, the claim seems demonstrably false inasmuch as the national political news has been consumed by Cruz both before and after as well as during his ‘filibuster’ speech.

But look at this.

I credit my colleague Hunter Walker who flagged an early version of this a few days ago.

This is from Google Trends and looks at the scale of searches for “Ted Cruz” and “Wendy Davis” over the last six month. The spikes show the period of their respective filibuster events. When we first looked at it the ‘search week’ wasn’t complete yet. So we didn’t have full data. But now we do.

What’s notable here is that this measures not press attention but popular interest in the two events. And as you can see there appears to have been much, much more for Davis.

Adding the term ‘filibuster’ to the names makes the disparity even greater.

Now one argument might be that Davis, for most Americans, came absolutely out of nowhere and thus more people might be searching her name than Cruz who’s been something of a known commodity for more than a year. Of course, press attention can also drive searches. So the dynamic can work in that direction too.

But even with all these caveats, it’s hard not to conclude that there was a lot more interest in Davis’s gambit than Cruz’s – a fact I find quite surprising. If anything it’s the national news media that’s out of sync with popular interest and perception.

Latest Editors' Blog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: