Each month until the U.S. general election, FleishmanHillard TRUE will be releasing a buzz report for the top candidates in each party. This analysis is conducted through FleishmanHillard’s TrueIQ platform and will help identify which and how the presidential hopefuls are being talked about on social media. While this analysis will provide for thought-provoking conversation, it is worth noting that it does not take sentiment into account, so we are not claiming that this would be representative of poll numbers.
Bernie Sanders faced an uphill battle for delegates heading into Super Tuesday on March 1, and a resounding defeat to Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton in South Carolina didn’t help his cause. That South Carolina loss, on February 27, was one of the most talked about events in February relating to the Democratic candidates. However, while his campaign was struggling to win these earlier primaries, Sanders leapfrogged past Clinton in both mentions (5 million to 4.6 million) and growth (78% to 57%) in February, indicating that Sanders had more of a presence on social media than his counterpart in the party. In our January report, Clinton had been leading both categories.
The presidential candidate leading those categories overall, Republican frontrunner and pundit-defying Donald Trump, had a larger share of buzz than both Democrats and continued to dominate the national conversation in February. Trump bounced back from a rough January, when his mentions went down 6% month-to-month, and in February his mentions went up 53%. Just as importantly for Trump, none of his rivals gained enough momentum on social media to come close to the numbers he boasted. While Trump’s share of overall buzz decreased from 46% to 42%, it was still more than his two fiercest competitors, combined: Ted Cruz’s share of overall buzz inched up from 15% to 15.8%, while establishment favorite Marco Rubio went from controlling 5% of total buzz to 10.6%. A late month attack on Trump’s credibility by establishment Republicans, such as former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Rubio, may have even helped Trump dominate digital conversations to a greater extent.