Presidential Debates: Who does it help down ballot?

By JD Chang

Presidential debates are great showcases for the two candidates but what about further down the ballot? Every politician should be using the increased spotlight of a presidential debate to engage the media and the public on what they stand for and (if they’re in a race) why people should vote for them.

We took a look at the Top 12 in National Media, Beltway Media, Facebook Talked Abouts, and Twitter Followers:

Top National Media mentions
1. Barack Obama
2. Mitt Romney
3. Paul Ryan
4. John McCain
5. Social Security
6. Hillary Clinton
7. Jon Stewart *
8. Sarah Palin
9. National Security
10. Rick Perry
11. John Kerry
12. Darrell Issa

(* We put in four national pundits — Stewart, O’Reilly, Hannity, Matthews — as just comparison for these politicians)

Top Beltway Media mentions
1. Barack Obama
2. Mitt Romney
3. Paul Ryan
4. Harry Reid
5. Todd Akin **
5. Todd Akin
7. John Kerry
8. John McCain
9. Claire McCaskill
10. Nancy Pelosi
11. Hillary Clinton
12. Darrell Issa

(* Todd Akin is listed twice in our rank because he is both an incumbent House member and a Senate Challenger)

Facebook Talked Abouts
1. Paul Ryan
2. Mitt Romney
3. Barack Obama
4. Sean Hannity
5. Jon Stewart
6. Donald Trump
7. Rick Santorum
8. Elizabeth Warren
9. John McCain
10. Gary Johnson
11. Bill O’Reilly
12. Scott Brown

Twitter Followers (gained)
1. Jon Stewart
2. Sean Hannity
3. Bill O’Reilly
4. Barack Obama
5. Paul Ryan
6. Chris Matthews
7. Anthony Gemma (Rep. – RI)
8. Mitt Romney
9. Donald Trump
10. Chris Christie
11. Gary Johnson
12. Marco Rubio

Some thoughts:

A.) People talk about Obama & Romney on their Facebook pages, but add/follow political pundits on Twitter.  Maybe because people go to FB to voice their opinion once, but use Twitter as a conversation tool.

B.) The National Media focused more on issues (social security, national security) than the Beltway Media. That makes sense since they have different reader bases.

c.) But, both National Media and Beltway Media trended for John Kerry, Darrell Issa, Hillary Clinton.


1. Kerry because he was the debate partner for Obama who “won” the debate (notice the lack of Bob  McDonnell, Romney’s debate partner)
2. Issa because of Fast and Furious
3. Hillary Clinton because of Bengazi

d.)  Elizabeth Warren & Scott Brown is a very Facebook heavy Senate Race.

e.)  Rick Perry and Chris Christie were the only governors on any of these lists. And neither one is running for office on Nov. 6th.

f.) Anthony Gemma (D-R.I) probably ran a promoted campaign on Twitter. And this wouldn’t be the first time he did.


National Media includes: WSJ, LATimes, NYTimes, WaPo, HuffPost, Fox News, CNN, USA Today
Beltway Media includes: Politico, The Hill, Roll Call
FB Likes is the number of Facebook Likes on each person’s page
TW Gap is the number of Twitter Followers gained each day on each person’s Twitter account.

(You can see all of TrendPo Pro’s chart data by subscribing to a free TrendPo Pro user account)


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