Sanders’ Popularity Growing Across the Internet, Study Suggests

Following recent media attention showcasing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is adding to his popularity and drawing large crowds during his travels through Iowa, a new study reveals he’s also the only presidential candidate – either Republican or Democrat – to drastically increase his internet presence across multiple media platforms.

“The only announced candidate to improve on his/her net sentiment post-announcement was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. His formal announcement received virtually no attention, and then he received boosts from appearances on network television talk programs on two successive Sundays –the inspiration behind the title of our report: ‘Media Weekends at Bernie’s (and other highlights of the first wave of presidential candidate announcements),’” noted a press release from SHIFT Communications, Zignal Labs’ public relations agency – the company that conducted the analysis.

The study comes from George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and Zignal Labs, which joined together and launched the Public Echoes Of Rhetoric In America (PEORIA) Project. It examines how American voters have reacted to political messages from formal campaign announcements.

The study highlights which 2016 presidential candidates are getting the most buzz across various media platforms, including websites, blogs and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Associate Professors Lara Brown and Michael Cornfield used Zignal Lab’s platform, and analyzed more than 10 million mentions on news and social media sites of all the 2016 candidates and potential candidates from March 15, 2015 to May 15, 2015.

“With Zignal’s platform, we’re able to see how the presidential campaigns are creating—or missing—their communication opportunities. This project is helping to make the ‘invisible primary’ more visible,” said Brown.

Brown explained the analysis process to Breitbart News:

The public echo ratings represent resonance, which is why we chose the word “echo.” The campaign produces the original message or “signal” and then we look at how loud it is echoing and how true it is echoing. That is, the ratings are based on how effective the campaign was at getting the message out there and then having that message heard and repeated accurately. Therefore, the ratings are not necessarily an indicator of popularity, but the effectiveness of the campaign.

The professors rated candidates “public echo” across media outlets on a scale of “1 (crickets) to 11 (historic).”

The ratings are listed below in the order of presidential announcements:

• Ted Cruz: 7
• Rand Paul: 5
• Hillary Clinton: 8
• Marco Rubio: 5
• Bernie Sanders: 4
• Ben Carson: 1
• Carly Fiorina: 3
• Mike Huckabee: 3

The platform created by Zignal Labs’ to track mentions of political candidates aids in analyzing how voters are responding to their campaign messages.

The fact that millennials tend to use social media sites more than other age groups wasn’t factored into the data findings.

“Obviously, there are more millennials on social media than any other group. The truth is that there is growth among all groups on social media, we just don’t know the exact breakdown,” Brown said. “The other thing to keep in mind is that while there are more millennials represented on social networks, it is the older generations that are more activist when it comes to politics. So, at this point, it’s hard to say if this is impacting our findings.”

Data pertaining to recently announced Democratic candidate former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s net sentiment has not yet been released.


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