GOP debate: Ben Carson marginalized on Twitter

by | Nov 12, 2015 | Analysis, Politics and Government - US, Twitter

The most substantial debate of the Republican leadership race took place this week, with candidates clashing on a range of issues including immigration and the economy.

And though some news organizations claimed that the most recent debate forced so-called “outsider” candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson “out of the limelight”, a MediaMiser analysis of Twitter chatter on Nov. 10 and 11 says otherwise — sort of.

Most popular republican candidates

We used our media monitoring software and analyzed more than 5,000 tweets mentioning #GOPdebate on Nov. 10 and 11, and found that the most mentioned candidate was Donald Trump. No surprise there, I guess.

But where it got more interesting is in the next few most popular candidates: Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz, with current sensation Ben Carson bringing up the rear in fifth place.

The debate was moderated by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal, and promised to focus on more substantive issues than previous GOP debates.

Trumpeted as one that would focus on the economy, it’s perhaps not surprising that the NO. 1 issue in this debate on Twitter was that of the economy.

Most popular republican issues

It was followed by immigration — Trump’s mass deportation plan was roundly attacked from all sides — along with raising of the minimum wage, the media’s role in leadership debates (to be fair, a Republican-only issue), and candidates’ tax plans.

The issue of Ben Carson potentially fabricating parts of his biography also came up, but in limited numbers.

Jeb Bush, who had hoped to salvage his campaign during the more serious debate, finished outside the top five in terms of Twitter popularity.

Jim Donnelly
Jim Donnelly graduated with a BA in History/English from Wilfrid Laurier University and a MJ from Carleton University. Jim heads Agility PR Solutions’ Media Insights Group which oversees the production of public and client media analysis reports and infographics. Jim was previously editor of the Ottawa Business Journal and related publications such as Ottawa Technology Magazine and Meeting in the Capital.


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