GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump garnered as many mentions in the news and on social media in just one month as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton did in four months of her campaign, according to a new report.
George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management partnered with Zignal Labs to launch the Public Echoes Of Rhetoric In America (PEORIA) Project. The project’s mission is to determine how voters react to political campaign messages.
George Washington University Associate Professors Lara Brown and Michael Cornfield used Zignal Labs’ cross media story-tracking platform and analyzed more than 10.3 million mentions on social media and in the news of the presidential candidates.
“We’re quantifying the old vaudeville and marketing phrase about how well messages ‘play in Peoria’ and everywhere else,” stated Cornfield. “Whose brands are catching on—and whose are catching flak?”
“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.
The study took place from May 16th to July 19th. GOP presidential candidates Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore launched past the dates of this study.
In the 63 day period of data collection and analysis, presidential candidates were mentioned in the media almost 15,000 times per hour – and total mentions for all candidates during the 63 day period was 21,848,035.
The report stated, “Notably, almost half of that was about Trump, in only the second half of the time period.”
According to the recent study, since June 16th GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “overwhelmed” and dominated the presidential campaign conversation, getting as many news and social media mentions in one month as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton received in four months – roughly 10 million mentions each.
Analysis of the data suggested former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was the candidate whose mentions suffered the most after his presidential announcement. According to the study, Bush had more than 80 percent mentions on the day of his presidential launch, but dropped to just 15 percent of mentions three days later.
“That drop is large in magnitude and clearly is related to Trump announcing on June 16th – the very next day after Bush announced,” stated the report.
Mainstream media, according to the report, gave more mentions to Trump than other newly announced candidates, but Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker followed after Trump.
The findings noted that before Trump entered it was the “Hillary Show” in terms of mentions across media platforms.
In the past two months, Trump faced criticism from both Democrats and Republican candidates over his comments on illegal immigration as well as his comment on Sen. John McCain and prisoners of war. the report noted:
Generally speaking, the conversations have become more negative since Trump entered the race. Only 5 candidates had positive conversations swirling around them: three Democrats – Chafee, Clinton, and Sanders – and two Republicans, Carson and Fiorina. Those two Republicans were away from the fracas of accusations and insults involving Trump. The five most involved in these hostile exchanges all suffered negative net sentiment, including Trump. Cruz, who expressed support for Trump, and Paul, who stayed neutral, fared better.
Each candidate is assigned an “echo value” rating from 1 (crickets) to 11 (historic) on how often that candidate is mentioned in the news or social media. The mentions include any mention on social media, news articles, broadcast clips,and YouTube.
When looking at the total 123 day period when twenty candidates entered the presidential race, the order of echo ratings were as follows:
- Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Hillary Clinton received a “9” echo rating
- Bernie Sanders (I-VT) received an “8” echo rating
- Donald Trump received a “7” echo rating
- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush received a “6” echo rating
- Rand Paul (R-KY) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received a “5” echo rating
- Marco Rubio (R-FL) received a “4” echo rating
- Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rick Santorum received a “3” echo rating
- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry received a “2” echo rating
- Lincoln Chafee, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former New York Gov. Pataki, and Webb all received a “1” echo rating
“While Donald Trump would probably score an 11 on volume and share metrics alone, the inclusion of echo conversation and message re-tweets drops his rating to 7. It is not clear that his campaign is converting talk into support that will in turn translate into votes and delegates at the Republican National Convention,” the report stated in response to the echo ratings.
The report concluded that the mentions of Trump across media platforms appeared to hurt more presidential candidates than it helped.