If you hopped on Twitter or Facebook last night, chances are you saw tweets about #GOPDebate. For a few hours, it seemed to be all anyone could discuss, as the nation tuned in to watch a hotly anticipated verbal showdown between ten candidates for the Republican nomination for president. Whichever party viewers felt partial to, one thing was consistent: viewer reaction was strong and vocal.
Synthesio gathered some incredible sentiment data from the digital sphere, which includes social media, online and mainstream media sites, blogs, forums, and more, and the numbers were gathered during a period beginning from the debate and ending this morning to cover post-debate chatter. The large majority of online mentions came from men, at 63%, compared to the women's voice at 37%. Additionally, the highly coveted 25-34 age demographic was posting the most about the debate, though the 18-24 demographic followed close behind.
Unsurprisingly, the most buzzed about candidate was Donald Trump, with a 28.3% share of voice. With incendiary remarks throughout the night, Trump received both boos and cheers from the audience, and appeared to come under fire from the hosts for his irreverent attitude.
And as far as hosting went, the much-discussed Megyn Kelly generated the most buzz at 74% share of voice. The sentiment around her buzz was mixed, however, as both Chris Wallace and Brett Baier scored higher on positive mentions.
As much as Trump dominated the digital conversation, they certainly weren't all positive. While he garnered a significant portion of positive mentions, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Ricky Perry, and John Kasich all scored higher in positive mentions, with Chris Christie scoring the highest at 28% positive mentions. Interestingly, Huckabee's 18.9% negative mentions balanced out his high mentions, perhaps due to some notable slip-ups in his responses.
The political topics that were most-discussed online were immigration and Planned Parenthood, both of which have been hot button issues in the news in the last few weeks, thanks largely to Trump, Bush, and Cruz. Conversely, the least buzzed about topics--education and health care--had the highest positive sentiment.
Overall, 66.2% of the online conversation was about the candidates as opposed to the 25.8% of conversation that was about the political issues themselves, proving that these candidates are engaged in a firestorm of branding that has very little to do with the political topics at hand. There was a roughly even split on the overall sentiment of the debate conversation, with just slightly more positive mentions.
What's clear from this data is that while Trump is a media and viewer magnet, what comes from that attention isn't always positive. Will Chris Christie's high positive mentions carry through until the primaries are over? Will slow and steady win the race? Or can much buzzed-about candidates like Trump and Huckabee turn some of the negative perception into votes? Time will tell, but for now, we're looking at the data.