While Iowa poll numbers remain neck-and-neck, social media tells a different story. Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been absolutely dominating overall conversation regarding the Iowa caucuses on Facebook, according to the social network.
A whopping 42.2 percent of conversations about the caucuses were about Bernie, crushing the second place Donald Trump, who is limping along at 21.7 percent. His number is more than triple Hillary Clinton’s, who trails behind at 13.1 percent.
Many experts in digital strategy say that social media posts can “indicate levels of enthusiasm among active supporters.” With the general consensus being that Bernie’s chances for securing the caucus depend on a large voter turnout for the caucuses, this overwhelming sign of enthusiasm is good news for the Senator.
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson respectively accounted for 10.7 percent, 4.7 percent, and 2.6 percent of Facebook conversations about the caucuses.
These numbers may be surprising to some, as the mainstream media has seemed intent on ignoring Sanders. According to decisiondata.org, Bernie received 29,525 press mentions from June to mid-January, compared to an astounding 21,536,032 Google searches. Compare this to Clinton, who received 87,737 press mentions in the same period compared to only 9,235,231 Google searches. There was even a point in which Joe Biden’s possible presidential run was getting more coverage than Sanders.
Sanders was also dominant on Twitter. According to Vocativ.com, Twitter mentioned Bernie Sanders in 32 percent of all Iowa caucus-related hashtags, while Hillary Clinton was mentioned in just 7 percent of those hashtags:
This led to the troubling conclusion that seems to suggest “that news coverage goes up a little when her (Clinton’s) poll numbers drop. Sanders, on the other hand, sees no large benefit when his poll numbers rise.”
That being said, the number of Bernie votes after the caucus tonight may prove to be much more difficult for the media to ignore.
Nathan Wellman is an LA-based journalist, playwright, and novelist. Follow him on Twitter:[email protected]