Digital & Social Media

Election Trends: May


Until November, when the U.S. general election will take place, FleishmanHillard TRUE will be releasing a social media buzz report for the top candidates in each party. This analysis is conducted by FleishmanHillard’s New York research and analytics team, using several social media analytics platforms to identify the share of voice on Twitter. While this analysis provides interesting discussion points, it does not factor in sentiment, so we do not claim that this represents poll numbers.

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Due to the lack of competition in the Democratic primary and voters looking ahead to the general election, mentions of Clinton were mostly Trump-related. With former Republican candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the rear-view mirror, Trump was happy to focus his attention on the other side of the aisle, as well: He used his influential Twitter handle (8.6M followers) to criticize Sanders and Clinton alike, and the tactic worked. Mentions of Trump (13.3M) rose by 17% in May, and as usual, he was able to control much of the conversation about the 2016 presidential race.


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May also represented a shift in the Democratic party as, for the first time in 2016, Clinton led Sanders in Share of Voice (22.8%) by more than 3 points. Social users are not “feeling the bern” anymore, as Clinton has accumulated enough delegates to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination (2,312), and devoted Sanders supporters are using the hashtag #BernieOrBust (94,358 mentions) to indicate they won’t be voting for Clinton in the general election.

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Among the three candidates left in the U.S. presidential primaries, the common topic of conversation continues to be Donald Trump, as the real estate mogul and presumed Republican nominee was mentioned in 61.8% of last month’s social conversation.

Whenever there was a spike in mentions concerning the Democratic candidates — persistent underdog Bernie Sanders and likely nominee Hillary Clinton — the spike consistently made a connection to Trump in some way. Trump’s relentless attacks on “Crooked Hillary,” for example, drove mentions of Clinton throughout the month, while the confrontational back-and-forth between Sanders and Trump – the two agreed to debate each other in California, and when Trump backed out of the event, Sanders called him a “chicken” – kept the Vermont senator relevant in the social conversation.