2016 Presidential Race in Social Media

It’ll be a while before we can actually vote for the next President of the United States, but the race is already being run in the media, including social media. How are the candidates doing?

Here’s the Republican candidate order, according to a recent CNN poll:

  • Trump
  • Bush
  • Walker
  • Rubio
  • Huckabee

And the Democrats:

  • Clinton
  • Sanders
  • Biden

We did not include Biden because he has not announced. No other Democrat had high enough results to include.

In order of Facebook Likes, here are a few of the more prominent candidates in the 2016 Presidential Race in Social Media:

Donald Trump


Sure, you and I and all the major news outlets think he’s a distraction from the actual race, but with 2.7 million Facebook Likes and 3.38 million Twitter followers, Trump tops this list. He’s sticking to his usual message with tweets like, “Lawyer Elizabeth Beck did a terrible job against me, she lost (I even got legal fees). I loved beating her,she was easy” and “ did not say that lawyer Beck lost the case and I got legal fees. Also, she wanted to breast pump in front of me at dep.,” plus lots of retweets of fans. He might actually be doing his own social media.

Mike Huckabee


Huckabee, like Trump, is not considered likely to win, but with 1.8 million Facebook Likes and 378,000 Twitter followers, he’s a top performer in social media. Huckabee uses a lot of video, Pinterest-worthy quote images, and bold statements. He’s not afraid to repeat himself, either, nor to offend. Tweets like “Washington has become the Roach Motel: career politicians go in, but never come out. We need #TermLimits! #ImWithHuck” and “Cecile Richards should apologize for her barbaric defense of harvested human organs” make it clear that he’s not courting middle of the road Americans. I’d say his social media team is doing a good job for him.

Hillary Clinton


With 1.1 million Facebook fans and nearly 4 million Twitter followers, Clinton is focusing strongly on climate change. Pundits say that it will be hard for Clinton to adopt the more centrist position she needs to win the White House without alienating Democrats before the primary. Avoiding economic and foreign policy issues and speaking out on climate change instead may be the winning strategy.

Marco Rubio


Rubio has 919,000 Facebook Likes and 770,000 followers at Twitter. He’s attacking Clinton and Obama and showing plenty of happy photos. He’s also asking people to like and retweet and take surveys — Rubio has the most interactive social media profiles of the group at the moment. Issues include defunding Planned Parenthood and ending diplomatic relations with Cuba. Rubio’s social media is the most classic of the bunch.

Bernie Sanders


Sanders has 902,000 Facebook likes and 484,000 Twitter followers. Surprisingly, he has a “look at me” strategy going on — more pictures of himself and news reports about himself than most candidates and more than we’d have advised (not that we were asked). Pinterest-worthy quote images on topics like marijuana, women’s rights, and climate change liven up a stream largely focused on the economy.

Scott Walker


With 339,000 Facebook Likes and 166,000 Twitter followers, Walker is doing better in social media than most Republican candidates. He has a scrappy tone and he sells more products than any of the other candidates — books, T-shirts, limited edition signed rally placards… This is more sales-oriented social media than some of our e-commerce clients.

Jeb Bush


With 225,000 Facebook likes and 237,000 followers at Twitter, Bush is being a lot more personal than the others. His Facebook timeline includes a direct attack on Clinton, video of Bush with babies, random chatter on Sharknado… His Twitter stream is bilingual and has more retweets than most of the the others. Issues take a back seat, but the social media team is doing a good job of giving people a feeling of hanging out with Bush. It was said that people voted for his brother because he seemed like a nice guy to have a beer with, so this may be the strategy here.

Martin O’Malley


O’Malley has 75,000 Facebook fans and 79,000 Twitter followers, even though he just moved to a new Twitter handle last month. We would have avoided the move, but if you have to switch horses in midstream it’s nice that it’s so easy to add supporters with a little investment in social media ads. Not that we know O’Malley did that. We’re just seeing the jump since June 24, 2015. O’Malley is taking a scattershot approach, tweeting on everything from climate change to minimum wage to foreign policy.

You’ll notice that the winners on Facebook are not necessarily the same as in the CNN poll, but it’s early days yet.






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