#GOPDebate No. 2: Which Candidates Scored Socially?

Who “won” the Republican presidential candidates’ debate Wednesday night, from a social standpoint? It depends whose data you use.

Who “won” the Republican presidential candidates’ debate Wednesday night, from a social standpoint? It depends whose data you use.

Take the case of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina: According to an analysis of Twitter conversations by social intelligence company Brandwatch, Fiorina had the second-most mentions Wednesday night, at more than 37,000, trailing only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at more than 39,000.

Yet, Fiorina barely registered a blip in an analysis of social voice and mentions by social media monitoring and analysis platform Synthesio, with its data heavily favoring Donald Trump.

According to Synthesio, the top five candidates generating the most buzz, complete with their sentiment breakdown, were:

  1. Trump, 31.8 percent (20.5 percent positive, 3.8 percent negative)
  2. Bush, 12.9 percent (20.5 percent positive, 4.7 percent negative)
  3. Ted Cruz, 9.4 percent (13.4 percent positive, 7.6 percent negative)
  4. Ben Carson, 8.7 percent (20.8 percent positive, 5.4 percent negative)
  5. Rand Paul, 8.3 percent (18.4 percent positive, 5.3 percent negative)


Meanwhile, Brandwatch’s examination of Twitter conversations found Bush in the lead, with more than 39,000 mentions, followed by Fiorina at more than 37,000 and Paul and Cruz with more than 15,000 apiece.

The top five issues discussed during Wednesday night’s debate, including sentiment, were, according to Synthesio:

  1. Planned Parenthood, 20.4 percent (10.8 percent positive, 9.6 percent negative)
  2. Foreign policy, 19.8 percent (16.8 percent positive, 9.7 percent negative)
  3. Immigration, 14.1 percent (21.7 percent positive, 10.9 percent negative)
  4. Health care, 10.1 percent (12.1 percent positive, 9 percent negative)
  5. Economy, 9.2 percent (13.2 percent positive, 8 percent negative)


Other findings from Synthesio included:

  • 67.9 percent of all online conversations about the debate were about the candidates, followed by the debate topics (27.7 percent), the CNN debate hosts (3.3 percent) and the Fox News Channel debate hosts from the first debate (1.1 percent).
  • 12.1 percent of all mentions of the debate were positive, while 6.1 percent were negative.
  • 59 percent of online mentions about the debate were from men, compared with 41 percent from women. Those figures were 63 percent and 37 percent, respectively, during the first GOP debate.
  • The age group that posted the most about the debate was 18 through 24, followed by 25 through 34—a reversal from the first debate.
  • The hashtag #GOPDebate was tweeted more than 1.08 million times, while #CNNDebate was tweeted more than 468,400 times.

And other findings from Brandwatch included:

  • The top three moments in terms of mentions were: Bush saying of brother George W. Bush’s presidency, “He kept us safe,” with more than 5,300 mentions; Fiorina addressing Trump and his recent comments about her appearance, with more than 4,900; and Bush admitting to smoking marijuana, at more than 4,500.
  • Fiorina had the most positive sentiment among candidates, at 72 percent and never dropping below 70 percent during the debate. She was followed by Rubio (68 percent) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (61 percent).
  • On the flip side, 59 percent of sentiment about Bush and Paul was negative, followed by Trump (54 percent) and Carson (52 percent).
  • Fiorina boasted the most mentioned Twitter handle, at more than 1.6 billion impressions, followed by Trump (more than 682 million) and Rubio (more than 480 million).
  • 59 percent of debate-related tweets came from men.

Readers: Did you interact on social media during Wednesday night’s debate?


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
Publish date: September 17, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/republican-presidential-candidates-debate-brandwatch-synthesio/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT