Published on Nov 11th, 2015
by Jack Weinstein
Ben Carson was the standout social performer among Republican presidential candidates during the fourth debate Tuesday night.
Carson scored huge points with supporters for posts making fun of what he called attacks against him after reports surfaced last week that he lied about applying for and receiving a scholarship to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He generated more than 1.4 million social actions (likes, comments, shares, tweets and retweets) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That accounted for 64% of engagement generated by all candidates.
And Carson continues to use Facebook to his advantage , where he generated 87% of his actions. He had the top six posts, including three parodies criticizing himself, with his top post generating more than 325,000 actions.
While Carson generated the most engagement, Mike Huckabee scored the largest engagement increase leading up to the debate. Huckabee, who appeared in the undercard debate, generated 618% more actions on Tuesday compared with Monday. Ted Cruz and John Kasich followed with engagement boosts of 313% on debate day.
Overall Debate Engagement Declining
Social engagement for the Republican presidential debates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has been declining steadily since the candidates first took the stage in August trump.
Tuesday’s debate generated 2.2 million social actions, half of the total number of actions generated by the candidates since the first debate. Each debate has declined steadily with Tuesday’s debate generating 27% fewer actions than the debate Oct. 28.
Part of the decline is a result of two fewer candidates in the field. Rick Perry dropped out Sept. 11 and Scott Walker joined him Sept. 21. However, neither candidate generated significant engagement on social. Both candidates accounted for less than 2% of the candidates’ total actions on days in which they appeared in debates.
Top Social Posts
Among the news media, debate host FOX Business scored the night’s top social post. Fox Business generated nearly 65,000 total actions for its Facebook post promoting the start of the debate. Additionally, total actions for FOX Business increased 1009% from Monday to Tuesday, more than other news media organization covering the debate.
FOX News generated the most engagement of news media organizations with nearly 1 million total actions on the day of the debate.
Donald Trump posted the night’s most engaged tweet with a criticism of Marco Rubio. It generated more than 5,700 actions.
The same post Carson used to generate the most engagement on Facebook was also the top debate-related post on Instagram on Tuesday with more than 10,000 actions.