Political marketing experts agree that donations and votes for their candidates will be won in the trenches of email inboxes this election cycle. But social media helps brand awareness, and Ted Cruz did himself proud in that regard during last night’s GOP debate, generating nearly as many tweets as Donald Trump.
Cruz excited the Twittersphere when he called out the CNBC broadcast moderators for being petty, saying their behavior illustrated why Americans can’t trust the media and noting memorably that “Everyone at home tonight knows that the moderators have no intention of voting in a Republican primary.”
As a result, tweets mentioning the Texas senator during the debate numbered 200,151, just 1,500 shy of Trump’s total, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence. Dr. Ben Carson, who had surpassed Trump in a national CBS/New York Times-conducted poll, finished third with 148,131.
Twenty-two percent of Cruz tweets were positive as opposed to only 18% negative. The figures were almost reversed for CNBC—15% positive and 30% negative. Among the unlikely Cruz backers were comedian Bill Maher and actor Patton Oswalt, who tweeted, “I hate Ted Cruz with the power of a million chainsaws revving but I agree with everything he just said.”
Social activity was down overall for this third GOP presidential candidate debate, drawing only 1.8 million tweets compared to 3.9 million for the second.
GOP Candidate Tweets During the Live Broadcast
1. Donald Trump 201,978
2. Ted Cruz 200,151
3. Ben Carson 148,131
4. Jeb Bush 85,203
5. John Kasich 66,213
6. Carly Fiorina 55,926
7. Marco Rubio 29,727
8. Chris Christie 22,293
9. Rand Paul 17,478
10. Mike Huckabee 11,088