First, digital advancements gave us speed of deliverability. Now, they give us interactivity. Combine that with a contentious election year, and we’ve got voting booth selfies on our hands.
Digital disruption of the election news cycle has reached a fever pitch. So when Facebook launched Facebook Reactions — the more nuanced “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry” interactions, in addition to the traditional “Like” — we couldn’t help but wonder: How does the public react to the 2016 presidential candidates online? Who’s the most “love-able” candidate? The most laughable? The most anger-inducing? I put the TrackMaven marketing analytics platform to work to find out.
Which Presidential Candidates Makes Us Laugh? Cry? Four Key Takeaways from the Beyond Like-Ability Report:
1. Donald Trump generated more reactions to his last 100 Facebook posts than the remaining four candidates COMBINED.
The candidates challenging the status quo are the ones spurring the greatest overall reaction from Facebook audiences. Trump is by far the most engaging candidate. Across his past 100 posts, Trump racked up a whopping 6.8 million reactions (including 6.5 million likes). That’s more than double the number of interactions spurred by Bernie Sanders, who’s in second place with 3.3 million total reactions (including 2.9 million likes) across his past 100 posts.
In fact, Trump has drummed up more reactions to his last 100 Facebook posts than Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, and Kasich combined.
2. Ted Cruz sparks more “HaHa”(18.59%) and “Sad” (5%) reactions than any other candidate.
No election year is without comedic value. Among the remaining candidates, Ted Cruz sparks the most “HaHa” reactions on Facebook (18.59 percent). Whether people are laughing at him or with him remains undetermined.
Sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying — especially in politics. Could that be the case with Cruz’s Facebook content? The senator from Texas also leads the presidential pack with the most “Sad” reactions, accounting for 4.64 percent of his total Facebook reactions. Sanders is second in sadness, with 2.95 percent sad reactions.
3. The data confirms our suspicions: Donald Trump is the most anger and awe-inducing candidate on Facebook.
It should come as no surprise that “The Donald” is both the most anger and awe-inducing candidate. Party lines could play a part. Republican frontrunners Trump (17.90 percent) and Cruz (12.82 percent) are the only candidates for whom anger accounts for a double-digit percentage of their Facebook reactions. How much of that is anti-establishment anger aimed at the Republican Party?
4. Love is the dominant reaction to the presidential candidates on Facebook.
Given the divisive timbre of this election year, it may come as a surprise to find that love is the dominant reaction to the presidential candidates on Facebook. Keep in mind, however, that each campaign communicates directly to core fans through Facebook pages. In other words, the candidates are preaching to a self-selecting choir.
While love is the primary reaction to each candidate on Facebook, there can only be one winner. Bernie Sanders elicits the most love on Facebook; love accounts for 87 percent of reactions to his Facebook content.
See the results in the complete report, Beyond Like-ability: Facebook Reactions and the Presidential Election: