With 20 Democratic candidates primed to take the stage for a second round of presidential debates over the next two nights in Detroit, Zignal Labs was again curious to see how online conversations were shaping up ahead of the debates. 

Here’s what we found when we examined SOV for each candidate in the week leading up to the debates:

Night One SOV

SOV numbers for each candidate are as follows – Bernie Sanders: 49%; Elizabeth Warren 24%; Pete Buttigieg: 9%; Beto O’Rourke: 7%; Amy Klobuchar: 4%; Marianne Williamson: 4%; John Hickenlooper: 1%; Steve Bullock 1%; John Delaney: 0% and Tim Ryan 0%.

Despite his middling performance in the first round of debates, Bernie Sanders takes the top spot in this group of candidates, likely the result of the continued support and activity of his loyal fanbase. Although she also maintained a steady drumbeat of coverage and campaigning since the last debates, top contender Elizabeth Warren comes in second to Sanders, grabbing just about half of his SOV. Buttigieg, O’Rourke and Klobuchar round out the top five, while lesser-covered candidates finish out the group with less than 5% SOV each.

Night Two SOV

SOV numbers for each candidate are as follows – Kamala Harris: 45%; Joe Biden: 11%; Bill de Blasio: 11%; Andrew Yang: 10%; Cory Booker: 8%; Tulsi Gabbard: 7%; Kirsten Gillibrand: 3%; Julián Castro: 3%; Michael Bennet: 1% and Jay Inslee 1%.

Still riding the wave of momentum from her breakout performance in the first round of debates, Kamala Harris takes the top spot in her group of candidates with 45% SOV, nearly matching Bernie Sanders’ share in his group. Following his beatdown in the first debates, Joe Biden comes in second with only 11% SOV, matching New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has gained significant ground in the weeks since the first debates. Candidates Yang, Booker, Gabbard and Gillibrand find themselves in the middle of the pack, while first-round debate star Julián Castro seems to have lost some of his energy, coming in near the end with only 3% SOV.

Night One + Night Two SOV

SOV numbers for each candidate are as follows – Bernie Sanders: 24%; Kamala Harris: 23%; Elizabeth Warren: 12%; Joe Biden 6%; Bill de Blasio: 6%; Andrew Yang: 5%; Pete Buttigieg: 4%; Cory Booker 4%; Beto O’Rourke: 4%; Tulsi Gabbard: 4%; Amy Klobuchar: 2%; Marianne Williamson 2%; Kirsten Gillibrand: 2%; Julián Castro: 1%; Michael Bennet 1%; Jay Inslee 1%; John Hickenlooper: 0%.; Steve Bullock: 0%; John Delaney: 0% and Tim Ryan 0%.

When combined, the numbers and rankings for all candidates are as expected. SOV leaders from both nights (Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris) take the top two spots, while their respective runners-up (Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden), come in third and fourth. Bill de Blasio rounds out the top five, while the middle-of-the-road and back-of-the-pack candidates take their anticipated positions.

Curious to see how these numbers change after the debates? Check back on Thursday for our Debates Debrief blog post, which will include updated SOV numbers, as well as analysis around media and supporter reactions.

Additional Election Coverage

Want more data-driven analysis around the election while you wait for Thursday’s blog? Take a look through our latest special report, Election 2020: Brands on the Ballot, to learn why the stakes are higher than ever for brands during this election cycle. 

Ready to learn more about how you can leverage focused data and media analytics to build and protect your brand throughout the election? Get in touch with our team today to request a demo – be sure to ask about our industry-first Election Pulse 2020 solution.