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Published December 16th 2015

React: The Social Data Round-Up from the Fifth GOP Debate

The fifth GOP debate, focusing on foreign policy and national security, set social media alight last night, registering over 872K online mentions within its runtime.

The individual candidate that accumulated the most mentions was none other than Donald Trump, who accrued more than 235K mentions.

The rest of the pack received:

  • Ted Cruz – 131K+ mentions

  • Ben Carson – 95K+ mentions

  • Jeb Bush – 93K+ mentions

  • Rand Paul – 89K+ mentions

  • Marco Rubio – 69K+ mentions

  • Carly Fiorina – 63K+ mentions

  • Chris Christie – 59K+ mentions

  • John Kasich – 28K+ mentions.


The people have spoken

Of course mention volume is helpful when trying to quantify public interest but the intention behind each mention is far more interesting, especially if you’re looking for a front runner.

As many candidates took shots at Donald Trump, conversations surrounding him online saw sentiment drop.

In fact, Trump finished the debate with the highest percentage of negative mentions within sentiment-categorized mentions at over 57% negative.

The candidates with the most positive conversations, or the ‘people’s choice’ candidates, were:

  • Rand Paul with over 64% of sentiment-categorized mentions being positive.

  • Marco Rubio with more than 61% of mentions being positive.

  • John Kasich with nearly 60% of mentions being positive.

Jeb Bush’s sentiment sat perfectly on the 50/50 mark across positive and negative mentions.

Moments that mattered

Peaks and valleys in audience interest occur naturally in every TV event, and this debate was no different.

A peak came early as Ben Carson asked everyone to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the San Bernardino shooting.

This one moment recorded over 3,800 mentions.


The next two peaks occurred when two different candidates tussled with Trump.

The first came as Rand Paul called-out Donald Trump on abandoning the Constitution and the Geneva Convention agreement. This one moment recorded over 3,700 mentions for Trump and 2,000 for Paul.

The next peak occurred when Trump and Bush squared off, with Bush stating that Trump can not insult his way to the presidency. Trump accrued over 3,400 mentions in that minute. Bush received more than 3,100 mentions.

Debate sparks male interest

Men tweeted about the debate more than women, accounting for 62% of all unique Twitter authors.


The candidates that women spoke about most online were Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. Fiorina received over 44% of her mentions from women. Trump received 43% of his mentions from women.

Meanwhile, men mentioned Rand Paul, John Kasich and Chris Christie the most in their tweets.


A positive debate, despite the drama

Overall, the entire debate was talked about positively. Among all sentiment-categorized mentions, positive discussion accounted for over 51% of the conversation.


We’ll be watching the Presidential race closely, but in the meantime, check out the React tweets at @BW_React.

Follow @bw_react for more hot data stories.

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