popularity contest
March 15, 2019

Not everyone knows Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) name yet, but she's surely headed in that direction.

The Bronx-born congressmember shattered expectations when she beat a longstanding incumbent in last June's primary, leading half of Americans to say they knew who she was by September, a Gallup poll at the time showed. Now, Gallup says 71 percent of Americans are aware of Ocasio-Cortez, putting her in pretty rare company for a House member who's only been on the job for two months.

Back in September, 24 percent of Gallup survey respondents said they had a favorable view of Ocasio-Cortez and 26 percent said they saw her unfavorably. Now, her favorable rating has only spiked seven points to 31 percent, while her unfavorability is up to 41 percent, Gallup's most recent poll found. It may seem that voters tend to dislike Ocasio-Cortez once they learn who she is, but her favorability is essentially just lining up to match Congress'. Republican Newt Gingrich similarly saw his prominence skyrocket and unfavorability grow after he became House speaker, Gallup also notes.

Yet while Gingrich had to claim higher office to get noticed, Ocasio-Cortez only had to get elected. Some senators also had surprisingly high name recognition when they started their jobs — Gallup specifically cites Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). But even they didn't reach Ocasio-Cortez's level. In fact, only then-Sen. Hillary Clinton has been better known than Ocasio-Cortez just two months after a congressional election, Gallup says — and she had a stint in the East Wing to thank.

The poll surveyed 1,932 adults by phone from Feb. 12-28, with at least 70 percent surveyed via cell phone. It has a 3 percent margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 8, 2018

This year's Oscars are getting shorter — and hopefully getting you to watch.

In a three-part series of changes unveiled Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said that it will shorten the televised part of its annual awards show and add a category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. This is the first new category since Best Animated Feature was added in 2001, per Vanity Fair.

Academy President John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson rolled out all these new changes in a letter sent to members Wednesday, says The Hollywood Reporter. Just what "popular film" means is still a mystery, though the Academy's letter promises "eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming."

Even before the Oscars added this new 24th category, the televised February ceremony often ran long. The Academy is now strictly committed to a three-hour show, creating a "more accessible Oscars for our viewers nationwide," per the letter. Some categories will be awarded in-person during commercial breaks, then edited for TV audiences and broadcast later in the night. The 2019 awards will remain on their previously announced date of Feb. 24, but the show will move up to Feb. 9 in 2020, the letter also says.

The changes came after the Academy's board re-elected Bailey as president Tuesday, months after clearing him of a sexual harassment complaint, per Entertainment Weekly. Kathryn Krawczyk

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