In a year of news coverage dominated by the coronavirus and the elections, Morning Consult’s most-read piece in 2020 was about the runner-up in the Democratic presidential primary.
The story of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ tight primary win in New Hampshire — and ultimately short-lived status as the Democratic Party’s front-runner — outpaced every story about President Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden, COVID-19 and all other pandemic-related topics in an exceedingly hectic year for news.
Trump did make his mark in plenty of other Morning Consult articles throughout the year, however, particularly in polling stories from our Washington vertical assessing the 2020 race and in data-driven pieces under our health banner that covered public opinions on his handling of the coronavirus. Stories about universal health care and “Medicare for All” also drew attention during the pandemic.
The politics-health dynamic carried over to our brands coverage, which delivered highly read stories on cable news and on consumer attitudes about activities and trends tied to the pandemic. In our entertainment vertical, politics in the form of late-night talk shows and debates won the day, though readers also made room for two unrelated and indisputably joyful topics: former One Direction star Harry Styles and the “Bachelor” franchise.
In tech and energy policy, the jockeying among lawmakers and stakeholders for inclusion in early coronavirus aid packages moved the meter with readers. Polling stories on topics such as QAnon and pandemic misinformation also attracted our tech audience, while energy readers were drawn to data pieces on climate change’s effect on family planning and a potential oil and gas bailout.
Finance, meanwhile, was dominated by stories from a series looking at COVID-19 as the second economic setback in a generation for millennials. The piece that sparked the most interest covered the regret millennials felt over taking on student debt.
And in sports, a data-driven exploration into the industry’s losing battle to capture Gen Z audiences and a demographic deep dive into league fan bases’ views on racial justice advocacy garnered the most interest.
Here’s a look at the top five most-read stories in 2020 from each of Morning Consult’s eight verticals.