From the Primaries to Election Night: How the 2016 Campaign Played Out
The most polarizing election campaign in recent memory is finally over and Donald Trump will take over in the White House in January 2017. Zignal Labs has been tracking the candidates for the past two years, starting with the Primaries and culminating with the election this past week. Let’s take a look back at how the campaigns played out across the media spectrum.
Clinton faced constant pressure from Bernie Sanders throughout the primaries, as the senator from Vermont built a groundswell of support for his progressive ideas. During the first Democratic debate in October 2015, Sanders actually earned more mentions than the eventual nominee. While Clinton was constantly sharing earned media with Sanders on the Democratic side, Trump went through the process unmatched. Around the first debate, mentions of Trump dwarfed the other nine candidates, a theme that continued throughout the primaries and was only exacerbated as the candidates dropped out one by one. The president-elect used the media to his advantage throughout his campaign like no other candidate in the history of the United States, generating $5.6 billion worth of earned media from July 2015 to the end of October.
One of the most contentious aspects of the election cycle that dogged Hillary Clinton was her use of a private email server. The initial story broke before she even declared her intention to run for the highest office in the land. During the entire primary season, Zignal Labs monitored each of the main candidates and captured the initial attention generated by the email scandal that wouldn’t subside.
The Zignal Command Centers were present at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, allowing attendees to visualize — in realtime — the key issues and conversations dominating the events.
Sentiment for Hillary Clinton’s speech at the DNC was split down party lines. Democrats expressed positive feelings through tweets and emojis in the form of hearts, party poppers and applause. Republicans, on the other hand, expressed a different reaction to her speech through money bags and eyes emojis, signifying their belief that she was too aligned with Wall Street as they had donated over $100 million to her campaign (this was proven to be false).
The most discussed speaker on day one of the Republican National Convention was Donald Trump’s wife Melania. This scrutiny was driven by evidence she had plagiarized a speech given by Michelle Obama.
The final day of the convention was dominated by talk of Peter Thiel, the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention. The majority of the conversation focused on the contradiction of an openly gay man vowing support for a party that had only days ago passed one of the most anti-LGBT platforms in modern history. This conversation can be seen in the word cloud for the day with Peter Thiel dominating the center and anti-lgbt popping up periodically.
One of the main takeaways from election night was that Trump won because he inspired his supporters to show up to the voting booth, while Hilary struggled to achieve the same results for her supporters. This trend was seen in the word clouds for the third debate. Trump managed to rally support around his campaign to rid Washington of the bureaucrats who have left a proportion of the population uninspired, highlighted by #draintheswamp dominating the hashtag cloud, along with #makeamericagreatagain and #wages. Clinton’s hashtag cloud contained none of her policy ideas; it was instead filled with messages from the Trump campaign. Once again there was a focus on the email scandal, with #podestaemails12 and #lockherup trending.
During election night, the conversation around Trump was much more proactive, with the center of the word cloud on election night was “vote”. The conversation also highlighted one of Trump’s key victory’s: “Florida”. The Clinton wordcloud was also muted by the Tump campaign. In fact, the Clinton wordcloud didn’t even feature her own campaign, with the central word being “Trump”.
This trend mirrored the fact that Trump was dominating the conversation at a ratio of 3:1 and was a big indicator that the president elect was about to pull off one of the biggest upsets in election history.
After tracking the election for over two years, Zignal Labs election coverage finally comes to an end. Thanks for following along with us, we’ll see you in two years when the whole process starts over again for the mid-terms!