Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can take heart from a real-time big data analysis of viewer sentiment during the Oct. 13 Democratic debate that showed the public liked her better after the debate was over than they did before it started.
There was a substantial movement in overall positive sentiment that far exceeded that of her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). However, Sanders also exhibited a gain in positive sentiment. Perhaps more important over the course of the Presidential campaign to come is that Sanders has shown far more engagement with users of social media than did Clinton.
But most worrisome for both Democratic candidates is that Republican candidate Donald Trump's engagement on social media far exceeded all of the Democrats combined.
We worked with ICG Solutions to analyze Twitter and Facebook posts as a way to gauge voter interest in each of the candidates and in each of the major issues in the Presidential campaign. The process was similar to the analysis we performed on the Republican debates in September, and as was the case with the earlier analysis, we worked at the National Press Club.
There were some differences in how we approached this latest analysis of viewer sentiment. Most notable was that the LUX2016 analysis tool has been refined by ICG so that it's now able to determine gender in the social media traffic. In addition, we also included sentiment numbers for Republican candidate Donald Trump because he is leading that party's nomination race in the polls.
The results in the Democratic primary debates were unlike those in the GOP version in a couple of ways. First there were two clear front-runners followed by three candidates with small chances of success.
Second, there was a much greater emphasis on issues important to voters, which is something that didn't appear in the 11-way race for relevance on the Republican side.
Readers can see a graphical representation here of the LUX2016 findings. Just scroll down until the page until you see the OCT-13-2016 date next to the Democratic mule symbol.
LUX2016 displayed the measurements of voter sentiment and engagement in a series of bar graphs that broke down the number and sentiment of social media mentions during very short periods of time ranging from five to 15 seconds. We only counted a mention by a unique sender during those periods as a way to keep from counting mass tweets created by automated systems.
What we found is that Bernie Sanders had a substantially higher number of social media followers active during the debates, frequently more than twice as many as Hillary Clinton.