Rand Paul’s NSA Protest Makes Him Most Popular GOP Candidate on Social Media

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) stance on the Patriot Act and the NSA’s bulk surveillance isn’t playing well with colleagues in his own party, but it has definitely made him more recognized on social media.

According to a new data from a company tracking media platform traffic, mentions of Paul on websites, blogs and social media sites increased by 134 percent in the second half of May – during which time he filibustered the Patriot Act for 11 hours on May 20th, eventually pushing the expiration of surveillance programs he deems unconstitutional.

George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and Zignal Labs partnered to create the Public Echoes Of Rhetoric In America (PEORIA) Project, which studies how voters are reacting to campaign messages from formal candidates and potential candidates. The study highlights the candidates that are getting the most traction on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

Paul’s filibuster on the Senate floor grew his social media presence that day to 50,000 mentions. Those 50,000 mentions in just one day were more mentions than Paul had on social media during the previous week.

In just the last week of May alone, Paul was mentioned on social media more than any other GOP presidential candidate.

In a recent article, Politico spoke to Republican lawmakers who criticized Paul for his filibuster and protest of the Patriot Act.

In the story, even Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – who has been vocally critical of Paul and his stance on the Patriot Act, even alleging he is using the issue for political fundraising for his presidential campaign – recognized the social media attention Paul was receiving during the filibuster.

McCain “contended there was an obvious political reason for Paul’s stance, pointing out how his colleague was tweeting supporters taking “selfies” of themselves next to Paul speaking on TV,” reported Politico.

Despite an unpopular review from colleagues in his own party, Paul contends his poll numbers show he is a top tier GOP candidate.

A Washington Post article recently suggested that Iowa voters were less supportive of Paul after he took his strong stance on the Patriot Act, but Paul cited other polls to Breitbart News’ investigative reporter Matthew Boyle that suggest he is in the top tier of Republican candidates and fairs the best against Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

“In fact, polls from battleground states ranging from Iowa to Colorado to Pennsylvania to New Hampshire have Paul beating Clinton if the election were held right now,” reported Boyle.


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