We at “USPEN” like to scan many different sources, to bring you angles you may not have seen. One of them is the betting site, PredictIt. That site tells us what people are willing to put their money on, so it sometimes diverges from the talking heads. This week, PredictIt sent out an email, commenting on the falling “fortunes” of Beto O’Rourke:
Down to Earth: The Fall of Beto O’Rourke
A Monmouth University poll, out last week, of likely 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary voters has former Vice President Joe Biden leading the field with 36 percent and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in second place with 18 percent. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke was tied for sixth place with 2 percent.
When Mr. O’Rourke jumped into the race in mid-March, he enjoyed a high number of Google searches (indicating interest in his candidacy) and raised about $6 million in his first 24 hours. He also hit double-digits in a number of national polls.
In an average of national polls taken since Mr. Biden entered the race, Beto O’Rourke has fallen to just below 5% support. That’s the lowest he has been since at least December.
The Monmouth University Poll also asked voters to rate 22 announced and two potential candidates in the race. Mr. O’Rourke is seventh in net favorability:
One possible contributing factor in Beto O’Rourke’s drop is that the news media doesn’t seem anywhere near as interested in him as they once were. He received more coverage on cable news during the last week of March than any announced candidate, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Since that point, Mr. O’Rourke’s coverage has dropped. He’s been mentioned 221 times, 155 times, 162 times and 136 times in the past four weeks, which was usually good enough for fifth or sixth place.
If Beto O’Rourke is going to improve his standing with voters going forward, he’ll likely need one of two things to happen: a standout primary debate performance and/or setting himself apart through retail campaigning in early states, like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Politico explains why Beto is out of favor, and “Mayor Pete” is in.
The secret to Buttigieg’s publicity run was no secret, wrote Matthew Yglesias in Vox. Like Molly Bloom in his favorite novel, Ulysses, he can’t stop saying “yes”—to media invitations. In recent weeks, he’s appeared on a CNN town hall, Ellen, A-list podcasts and Morning Joe, and been featured in New York, POLITICO Magazine, the Atlantic and much more. But saying yes is never enough to hold the press spellbound. Buttigieg has satisfied the ravenous press corps’ appetite by offering them an entire menu of newish things—no, make that an entire food court of newish things—to write about. . .
The Buttigieg boom has also benefited from the stumbles of our previous political shooting star, Beto O’Rourke. Was it only weeks ago that the press began swooning for O’Rourke like a drunken conventioneer, writing about him with the same frequency it does for Buttigieg today? The things that once seemed so appealing about O’Rourke to the press—the generalities, the platitudes, the offhanded charisma, the rolled-up sleeves—seem off-putting now. The clearest sign of the press corps’ O’Rourke infatuation was its routine reference to him by his first name in its stories—something it has moved on to doing with Buttigieg. Such shameful and transparent familiarity.
Having stripped the Kennedyesque Texan of his novelty, the press corps has dumped him for the Kennedyesque Hoosier like a speed-dater on the rebound from a Tinder relationship gone bad.
That’s ironic, because in these pages, more than a month ago, we said that while Beto reminded us of the big-hearted Bobby Kennedy, Buttigieg reminded us of the more polished and moderate JFK.
Conservatives see Beto as a dangerous dreamer, in the way that Trump is a dangerous gambler. They wouldn’t know what to expect, according to the conservative Washington Examiner.
One of them is a Rhodes scholar and former Navy lieutenant who served in Afghanistan, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, speaks eight languages, and references Faulkner offhand with as much ease as he does Eminem.
The other is an unemployed trust fund baby whose billionaire father-in-law bankrolled his onion-thin congressional career, culminating in a public mid-life crisis.
Yet somehow the media can’t stop likening the likeable and experienced South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to the aggressively mediocre Beto (read: Robert Francis) O’Rourke in the same breath.
But there are no hard feelings. Beto actually defended Mayor Pete against homophobes, recently.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke came to the defense of fellow 2020 rival Pete Buttigieg after anti-gay protesters heckled Buttigieg at an event in Texas on Friday.
“Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon,” O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Intelligencer says that while the two candidates share many ideals, their styles are very different.
Earlier this year “Beto-mania” was a thing, as a once-obscure three-term House member from West Texas who set fundraising records while throwing a scare into Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterms had former Obama political aides signing up for his presidential effort, and drew big and youngish crowds everywhere he went. But more recently South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg has taken off like a rocket, sporting an unconventional biography (he’s a married, gay, devoutly Christian, multilingual, Afghanistan veteran) and an undeniably media-savvy knack at telling “narratives,” particularly concerning the economic struggles of the Rust Belt, where most Democrats feel they must beat Trump. . .
Coincidentally or not, the two men have represented bandwagons heading in different directions in the polls. O’Rourke briefly reached double digits in three national polls in March, immediately after his announcement of candidacy, even as Mayor Pete languished in obscurity. In a CNN poll taken from March 14–17, for example, Beto was at 11 percent while Buttigieg was at one percent. But in a Monmouth survey released earlier this week, Buttigieg was at 8 percent and O’Rourke was down to 4 percent. . .
So both of these young white men with the unconventional backgrounds could turn into flashes in the pan, which would gratify those who think they’ve gotten undue attention at the expense of candidates who are women or people of color. But if they both survive, we will eventually find out whether one’s success means the other’s failure.
There has been some buzz from the fact that Google searches for Beto have declined steadily, while Mayor Pete is now getting more hits. But couldn’t that just be that the public has already found out who Beto is, while Buttigieg still remains a mystery to them?