While the race for the next president of the United States has occupied the American zeitgeist for some time now, this week marks the ceremonial starting line of the 2016 Presidential Election. The Republican National Convention (RNC) is the first time a candidate from the bipartisan system is officially revealed. On Thursday, Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for President.
Trump’s campaign is like none other. The Donald has brought his reality TV personality and social media savviness to his bid for presidency. Thus far, it’s working.
In June, we predicted the results of the EU Referendum using our social data. Now we’ve turned our attention to what social media can tell us about the political environment on the other side of the pond. Of course it should be pointed out that, unlike the Brexit vote, the US election is based on an electoral college system and not simply the total popular vote winner so more careful extrapolation of the data is required.
There’s no question that Trump dominates the social scene. His 129 million social media engagements tower over presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton’s 37 million. However, this is to be expected based on Trump’s celebrity status.
Perhaps more surprising are each candidate’s sentiment and loyalty numbers. Trump, despite his many provocations, bests Clinton 72% to 60% in positive sentiment and 58% to 46% in loyalty. Trump engagers are not only more active but also more loyal than Clinton’s. And, Hillary’s own controversies appear to be reflected in the social data.
On social media, Republicans are more likely to cross the aisle. Social index measures how much more likely than the average a certain segment of people is to engage with another. The Republican to Democrat social index is 1049, compared to the Democrat to Republican social index of 959. That means Republicans are 9% more likely to engage with Democrats than the reverse.
Social indices have the power to reveal other insights about a particular segment including affinities for other politicians, celebrities, and TV programs. The RNC is full of entertainers in addition to Trump. Some of the celebrities the Trump campaign would do well to secure endorsements from include Chris Stapleton, Kyle Busch, Michael Strahan, Candace Cameron, and Matt Drudge.
Political advertising will be heating up as November draws closer. ABC’s Shark Tank and Last Man Standing are some of the best TV shows for reaching Republican voters.
The moment that’s generated the most social buzz for Trump this year was when he unexpectedly appeared to introduce his wife at the convention – the nominee usually doesn’t appear until the last day – and Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech.
Using our proprietary Teletrax TV monitoring technology, which tracks TV content across more than 2,200 channels in 76 countries, we looked into how Melania’s speech was being rebroadcast across key networks. MSNBC has rebroadcast Melania’s speech the most and notably focusing on the section lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.
Trumps’s most newsworthy moment was delivered an hour into his speech when he promised to repeal Obamacare. Local and national networks had rebroadcast that clip more than 6 thousand times within 14 hours after his speech concluded. Other key moments were when he proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate” and concluded with his campaign slogan, “Make America great again!”
Contentious moments were when Trump discussed trade reform – it’s the most rebroadcast clip from MSNBC – and when he pointed to immigration as a cause of violence, peaking on Fox News. The Republican nominee also did not shy away from the First and Second Amendments, a moment Fox News leaned into when all other networks shied away.
The warm-up to the headline event when Republican and Democrat will finally face-off in the same room has been anything but boring. Throughout the presidential election’s early stages, social media has played an important role in the election and its significance will only continue to grow as Election Day approaches.
Stay with us as we follow the campaign trail to see what America is saying – and watching – about its future leader across channels and screens.