August 2019, US Presidency

Alex McHaddad, 8/7/19

Spoiling The Broth

Since July, two Democrats have joined the race for President while two have ended their campaigns, miraculously resulting in the same number of Democratic candidates. US Rep. Eric Swalwell and US Senator Mike Gravel ended their campaigns, replaced by US Rep. Joe Sestak and Tom Steyer. 20 candidates managed to meet the Democratic National Committee's stringent qualifications to participate in the first two debates, many seeking the Presidency while others likely accrue earned media for other political races or cabinet seats.

For this issue of the Facebook Primary, data for Libertarian candidates will be reviewed for the first time. The Libertarian Party managed to recruit a Congressman for their nominee in 2019, while former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson ran as a Libertarian in 2012 and 2016. Two viable candidates are considered here, NH Rep. Max Abramson and software developer John McAfee.

Average Growth

Facebook

Since data for most candidates has been collected since May, a picture can be offered of their average monthly growth. President Donald Trump has seen the highest average monthly growth on social media since May. Surprisingly, a lower-tier performer, Governor Jay Inslee, has seen the highest average monthly growth among Democratic candidates, though he still remains less popular on Facebook than Governor Bill Weld (President Trump's only serious primary challenger). The remaining top 5 candidates for average monthly growth are Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senators Kamala Harris & Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Mr. John McAfee (Libertarian) enters the Facebook Primary just above Governor Weld, though he ranks 19th overall among 28 candidates. Rep. Max Abramson is in last place with 1,029 followers, behind Mayor Wayne Messam. The candidate with the lowest monthly growth is Rep. John Delaney.

Twitter

Average monthly growth tally on Twitter come with some interesting results. As on Facebook, President Trump has the highest number of average new followers per month. The top 4 candidates are Senators Warren & Harris, Mr. Andrew Yang, and Mayor Buttigieg. Fifth place is a tie between Senator Bernie Sanders and Mrs. Marianne Williamson, each with an average of 66,666.66. Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and Senator Cory Booker have each averaged 33,333.33 new followers per month.

Despite his performance on Facebook, Governor Inslee has not been as popular on Twitter. While he has leapfrogged Governor Weld in popularity, he is 20,000 behind the median growth rate. Governor Weld has received 10,000 new Twitter followers since May, but he has only gather 1,700 new Facebook page likes.

2nd Debate Bump

Facebook

To say that President Trump is the winner of the 2nd Democratic debates is almost becoming a running gag here. In the past month, President Trump has gained 84,000 new Facebook page likes. Among Democrats, Mayor Buttigieg has received the most new Facebook followers, having done so every month except July when he was beat by Senator Harris. Other top performers this past month are Rep. Gabbard, Senator Warren, Mr. Yang, and Senator Sanders.

Rep. Seth Moulton, who has failed to participate in either debate, actually saw a net decrease in followers this past month. Governor John Hickenlooper, who attended both debates, is sandwiched in between Rep. Moulton and Rep. Sestak, another debate now-show. Rep. Sestak ranks just below Mayor Messam on this list, yet another candidate who did not meet requirements to appear in either debate. These four candidates also rank below Governor Weld on this ranking.

Twitter

As on Facebook - so on Twitter. President Trump gather 1.1 million new followers in the past month, just 13,000 fewer than all other candidates combined. Four Democrats gained at least 100k new followers, Senators Warren, Sanders, & Harris, along with Mrs. Williamson. Rep. Gabbard received 95,000 new followers, putting her in the top five.

Once again, Governor Hickenlooper is stuck between debate absentees, just under Rep. Moulton but above Rep. Sestak and Mayor Messam. At the very bottom with 0 net change in followers is Senator Cory Booker, who remains the second most popular Democratic candidate on Twitter. Governor Weld accrued 5,900 new followers, above the aforementioned candidates in this paragraph and Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Additional Insights

Mr. McAfee was an interesting candidate to observe in 2016 due to his flamboyant Internet presence. On one occasion while tracking his social media performance, I got in a disagreement with him on the methodology and validity of the Facebook Primary. He starts off this study with 1 million Twitter followers, one of only 11 candidates with more than 750,000 followers on this platform. Rep. Abramson shows promise as a viable candidate due to his service in elected office, but his social media game is weak - after I clicked follow on his profile today, he hit 12 total followers.

My exhortation remains the same - remember to like and promote your favorite candidates on social media, including by using their hashtags.