In the lead up to the U.S. presidential election, FleishmanHillard TRUE will be releasing a monthly social media analysis for the top candidates in each party. Using FleishmanHillard’s TrueIQ platform, this report will help identify the candidates that are being talked about on social media. While this analysis provides interesting information for conversation, it is worth noting that the analysis does not take sentiment into account, so we do not claim that this is representative of poll numbers.
Despite his diminishing odds of capturing the Democratic Party’s nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders continues to enjoy the lion’s share of social media buzz among Democrats. In March, Sanders maintained a multi-point lead in share of overall buzz over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, even though Clinton led Sanders in delegates (1,243 to 980) as well as superdelegates (469 to 31) at the end of the month. In addition, total mentions of Sanders skyrocketed up to 6.3 million, well above Clinton’s count of 5 million. The 74-year-old senator’s grassroots, underdog campaign has captured the imagination of young voters and grabbed hold of the social conversation, even if it might not help Sanders earn a bid to battle the Republican nominee in November.
That person, to the consternation of many in the Republican Party, is increasingly likely to be polarizing real estate developer Donald Trump, who continued to dominate the entire field in social media presence. For the first time, Trump owned the majority of overall buzz, with 53.4%, and was mentioned an astonishing 22.9 million times on Twitter. Not all of these mentions were positive – social media activity spiked, for example, following violence at Trump rallies or any of the candidate’s controversial statements – but Trump kept his name in the news cycle on a consistent basis, even as other candidates fell out of the race entirely. Trump’s chief remaining rival, Ted Cruz, enjoyed just 16.1% of overall buzz in March, which is just a .3% increase over February – and that was when he was competing with a larger field of candidates. In the Republican Party, social media activity is more closely aligned with success on the ground.