Every month until the general election, FleishmanHillard TRUE will release a buzz report for the top candidates in each party. This analysis is conducted by FleishmanHillard’s New York research and analytics team, utilizing several social media analytics platforms to identify the share of voice on Twitter. While this analysis will provide for interesting fodder, 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.
Nearly all major conversation spikes in August were caused by negative commentary about embattled Republican Donald Trump, who was involved in a constant string of controversies throughout the month. Trump’s recent visit to Mexico, for example, resulted in a back-and-forth between Trump and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto on Twitter, as the latter wrote (in Spanish) that Mexico wouldn’t pay for Trump’s proposed border wall. Earlier in August, a naked statue of Trump anonymously set up in Manhattan went viral on social media, as Trump’s critics used the statue to mock him; and Texas Senator Elizabeth Warren called Trump a “pathetic coward” in a tweet that was shared more than 80,000 times.
These incidents didn’t hurt Trump’s dominant performance on Twitter though, as the candidate earned more than 8.1 million engagements (retweets and likes) in his posts, or more than twice Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 3.5 million engagements. The real estate developer commonly railed against “Crooked Hillary,” the “corrupt and totally dishonest” media, President Barack Obama — who Trump characterized as “the worst president in the history of the United States” — and other political figures, to great effect among his 11.4 million followers.
Clinton was involved in fewer conversation spikes in August, but like Trump, she used her Twitter channel to lob daily criticisms at her political opponent: Clinton mentioned Trump directly in 39% of her posts last month, and alluded to him in several others. Like Trump, though, Clinton’s main conversation drivers on social media were extremely negative in sentiment. In early August, for example, Wikileaks broke the news that Clinton strategist Bob Beckel “called for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange to be assassinated;” Trump’s frequent criticisms of #CrookedHillary were regularly shared tens of thousands of times; and Clinton’s ongoing emails scandal continued to affect public perception about her.