On Tuesday, the world’s attention turned to the U.S. as voters went to the polls to elect the country’s next President. Donald Trump’s unexpected victory created shockwaves across the world, which was reflected in the global markets and on social media.
We’ve seen social data predict political events in the past, from the Egyptian Revolution to Brexit, and over the past several months, we’ve been monitoring the conversation on social media surrounding the election. Using 4C analytics, we watched Election Day unfold on social media, with a clear victory for Trump in terms of social engagements and sentiment mirroring the results of the vote.
The most socially engaged moment of Election Night, with over 5 million engagements across Facebook and Twitter, occurred around 9pm EST, when Trump took the lead in Electoral College votes. Positive sentiment for both candidates stayed relatively steady throughout the day, with Trump having consistently higher positive sentiment than Clinton.
While polling numbers showed a roller-coaster of a race throughout 2016, Clinton was projected to win the Election throughout the entire campaign. However, as the Election results came to show, social media told a different story. Between January 1 and November 7, Trump led in terms of both social engagements and sentiment, up until Clinton’s surge in engagements in the week leading up to the election. Trump maintained a lead in total engagements in the last five weeks of the campaign with over 57 million total engagements, in addition to a 10-point lead in sentiment, which proved to carry him through to a victory on Election Night.
As the polls began to close on the east coast, several hashtags surrounding the results surfaced on Twitter. Uses of #stayinline, relating to a person’s right to vote if they were standing in line at the time the polls closed, #imstillwithher, a variation of Clinton’s popular campaign hashtag, and variations of #notmypresident spiked around key moments during Election Night and well into the morning.
President-elect Trump’s 3 am victory speech was re-broadcast throughout the day on Wednesday, with three moments appearing as the favored clips of cable news networks. The most nationally re-broadcast moment came when Trump stated that Clinton had called him to concede, while cable news focused on the clip of Trump and his family taking the stage.
Secretary Clinton also spoke Wednesday morning, offering her formal concession speech to the American public. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News re-broadcast the moment the Clinton family took the stage, dressed symbolically in matching purple, and Clinton’s apology to her supporters for not winning the election has been the most nationally re-broadcast moment of the speech.
Post-election conversation has begun to address the disconnect between polling numbers and actual results, and social data should be a key factor to consider going forward in predicting outcomes. While the election may now be over, stay tuned for more 4C Impact Reports covering events in politics, sports, and culture.