While last night was the third Democratic Debate of 2019, it was the first one where the top 10 Democratic candidates engaged in a debate together. Millions of eyes were on the national debate in Houston, Texas the night of September 12th, 2019. This morning, news and media outlets quickly published top moments and opinion pieces on what went down on stage. But, what about the general public? US audiences, you’re in luck. Today, we’re measuring the social media success of these 10 Democratic candidates.

Most and Least Talked-About Candidates

Our first method of measuring social media success is to look at the volume of mentions online during and after the debate. Which candidates did people talk about on social media?

In the lead, we have former Vice President Joe Biden, who takes up almost a third of online conversations related to this Democratic debate. In second place is Bernie Sanders, who generated about 20% of online discussions. At 10%, Kamala Harris rounds out the top 3.


And the least talked-about candidates by social media users? Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang.

Measuring Social Media Success Through Interactions

We looked at how many posts were related to these candidates, but what about interactions (i.e. likes, comments, sharing)?


As we learned before, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are far ahead in terms of volume, and, therefore, interactions. On the flip side, however, some candidates generated high interaction with far fewer posts, such as Elizabeth Warren (light purple dot) and Andrew Yang (red dot).


But volume and interactions aren’t everything. It’s more important to understand what these conversations say about public opinion toward the candidates.


On the Internet, Pete Buttigieg had the highest positive sentiment among social media users, with one person tweeting the following.

And which candidate(s) had the highest negative sentiment? Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro were neck-and-neck, at 11.05% and 11.02% respectively.

What happened with Julian Castro?

During the debate, Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Public Development, made several comments directed at Joe Biden’s age and memory. Consequently, our trend-detection module found that over 88% of conversations about Julian Castro mentioned Joe Biden.

People on social media are not happy about Julian Castro, including this Twitter user who used to love him.

The reaction on social media has not been pretty, with negative sentiment towards Castro growing sharply and surpassing positive sentiment on the night of the debate.


Where in the United States are people talking?

Large, populous states like New York, California, and Texas lead the way with the most people talking on the Internet.



What platforms are people talking on?


Unsurprisingly, Twitter dominates the online conversation about this Democratic debate, hosting over 83% of the discussions. But, forums, like Reddit, also host a surprising amount of discussions on the debate, even surpassing general news and magazines.

Measuring Social Media Success to Predict Nomination Outcomes?

The ups and downs of public opinion create the political narrative that’s unfolding each day. And social media is the place where the average person has a place to share honest opinions and engage in conversations with millions of others. It’s therefore the most accurate representation of what Americans, and people worldwide, think about the upcoming nomination and elections. In short, there’s a story to be told and heard. Understand the story about you.