When the 2016 presidential race first began, Hillary Clinton was a Facebook powerhouse that left all of the other candidates in the dust when it came to the generation of likes, shares, comments, and posts from the public on Facebook. As summertime neared, it appears the other candidates realized the value of having a strong social media presence and began to step up their Facebook game, ultimately bumping Hillary Clinton down from #1 in Facebook buzz.
The current leader in Facebook buzz since mid-June is, unsurprisingly, Donald Trump. Trump is trumping the competition when it comes to amount of Facebook conversation, but that doesn’t provide any gauge of public sentiment. However, each candidates’ Facebook buzz trends actually mirror their trends in the polls. So, it doesn’t seem to matter if it seems like half of what you see on Facebook is people making fun of or bashing Donald Trump. If his name is in the public’s mouths, or more appropriately Facebook conversation, he’s likely rising in the polls whether we’re bashing or praising him.
Look at Bernie Sanders, for example. At the start of the presidential race, few people had any clue who he was. As his Facebook buzz began to pick up, so did his poll numbers. Around May, he began generating close to the same amount of Facebook buzz as Hillary, even passing her in September, and the road to the democratic nomination went from a cake walk for Hillary to an actual competition between two realizable candidates according to the polls. While the polls still show Sanders has a lot of ground to cover to be neck and neck with Clinton for the nomination, his numbers have continually increased with his Facebook buzz.
To learn more about this trend between volume of Facebook conversation and poll numbers, check out this USA Today article. Be sure to check out the graph at the end of the article that illustrates the five presidential candidates generating the most buzz on Facebook’s weekly activity totals starting from the beginning of this year.