Last week we released a new Bing Elections experience that provides a simple but powerful view of the candidates and issues. As a complement to this, we want to share additional analysis on the debates, putting Bing Predicts technology – which also powers the Bing Political Index – to work overnight to evaluate public reaction. The following information seeks to provide an aggregated, anonymous, and unbiased view of what the web and social responses were in response to the Republican debates, from the start of the undercard debate at 6:30pm Eastern through the end of the main debate at 11pm Eastern Tuesday, December 15th.
Our analysis of social sentiment throughout last night’s debate enabled us to create a visual timeline for the topics of interest, highlighting those that saw the strongest reactions from the public. Chart 1 shows the highest trending topics during each section of the debates and top trending quotes by candidate.
Chart 1: Graph of topics discussed on Twitter over time during the undercard and main Republican debate.
As expected, the data reflects the foreign policy focus of the debate. Based on aggregate counts, the top 3 issues from the debate were:
1) Foreign Policy/Homeland Security
2) Middle East and Afghanistan
Analysis also shows how candidates trended relative to one another throughout the debates, and top quotes from each candidate that drove the most social activity.
Chart 2: Graph of candidates over time, measured by mentions on Twitter, together with top trending quotes
Everybody likes a scorecard from a debate, so we have taken a shot at this by breaking down the total volume of interest for each candidate. Note that this is a ranking simply by sheer number of mentions so being controversial or provocative counts as much as being popular. Chart 3 provides this breakdown.
Chart 3: Breakdown which shows share of tweets by candidate during the debates on December 15th, 2015.
Donald Trump led the group with 29.3% share, which is consistent with his top share in three of the four prior debates, while Jeb Bush rose to third with 9.2%, behind Ted Cruz on 12.5%.
Breaking this down further, we categorize mentions of a given politician associated with particular topics of interest. Using this view, Chart 4 shows the volume of interest for each politician on the top 3 issues noted earlier.
Chart 4: Charts showing share of tweets by candidate on each of the top 3 issues during the debate: (1) Foreign Policy/Homeland Security, (2) Middle East and Afghanistan, and (3) Immigration. Also shows the top 3 issues from the previous debates.
Certainly, each debate contains intricacies at many levels, but we have attempted to provide some interesting insights from the data on the candidates across the topics that viewers and readers care about to help. You can dig deeper into the topics and candidates, including search and social trends by candidate, at www.bing.com/elections. Our goal is to bring some clarity to the conversation this elections season, to help you find the information you need about the candidates throughout the debates, primaries, and during the race to the finish.
– Bing Predicts Team