When it comes to the Democratic primary challengers who are either officially or unofficially in the race, the names we see at the top of recent polls are not surprising. Biden, Sanders, Harris, O’Rourke are all names most expected to be the front runners for the nomination.
But one name that has entered the top tier over the past month is one that is not only a surprise but one that most people can’t even pronounce! The emergence of Pete Buttigieg on the scene has the potential to shake up the race, and the strength in the numbers behind his emergence indicates that Buttigieg will indeed, play a critical role in the race for the Democratic nomination.
A couple of weeks ago we detailed how most candidates see a spike in mentions online after an announcement or some other event that places them in the middle of the news cycle, followed by a decline, usually to pre-announcement levels. We pointed out however that Buttigieg was the candidate that had the lowest decline in post-announcement mentions (or in his case, Buttigieg’s CNN town hall appearance).
More than a week after that initial analysis, we now see that Buttigieg’s daily mention count has eclipsed that of his town hall appearance spike. Sustainability is usually the challenge for this kind of attention, but in Buttigieg’s case, he is exhibiting strong growth in online mentions and discussions, the only candidate to do so.
But his growing attention is only half of the story. With additional attention comes additional scrutiny and criticism from supporters of other candidates or parties. This reality tends to lower the average sentiment levels expressed in candidate mentions. However, the sentiment expressed in Buttigieg’s mentions has consistently remained intensely positive as well.
The observed levels of positive, sustained attention that Buttigieg has earned for himself indicates that he will remain in the top tier and it will provide him with the opportunity to increase his exposure in a manner that other candidates that were not well-known before their candidacies will have a hard time matching. In other words, look for Buttigieg to grow his support base in the coming weeks.
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In addition to the sentiment updated every 15 minutes, we are also displaying the topics discussed by people expressing support for POTUS that those that are not.
These metrics will provide both quick snapshots of immediate reactions to events or statements from the President, but longer term metrics are also provided to pick up on any trends.
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It’s announcement season for Democratic Presidential hopefuls, and Eyesover has measured the impact each candidate’s declaration has had online.
Because we’ve been monitoring a number of potential candidates, we’ve created discussion level baselines for each of them. We then compared the one-day spike in discussions generated by their candidacy announcements with that baseline to determine who generated the largest impact.
The top three announcements so far in terms of attracting discussion have been supplied by O’Rourke, Sanders and Harris. O’Rourke’s spike is in a league of its own as his announcement was discussed by 32,500 online accounts over his baseline amount compared to 19,000 and 17,000 for Sanders and Harris respectively.
But gaining a spike on the day of the announcement is one thing. The candidate’s ability to sustain that attention is a completely separate matter. To determine how effectively each campaign maintained their hold on the public’s attention, we measured the discussion levels of each of the candidates five days after their announcement. On this front, O’Rourke is still outperforming the others on a raw numbers basis, but the candidate who has retained the largest percentage of their spike has been Pete Buttigieg. To be clear, we used his town hall appearance on March 10 as a proxy for his announcement, but the combination of sustained attention and very high sentiment expressed in comments about him since the town hall bodes very well for Buttigieg.
For most of the candidates, maintaining a high level of discussion has proven to be a challenge. For everyone except O’Rourke, Sanders and Buttigieg, candidates have generally retreated to their pre-announcement baseline levels.