Instead of Big Bird and binders, we got horses and bayonets. But behind the attacks and empty pledges, there was data. Lots of data. And memes, of course.
Thanks to some instant analysis from Bluefin Labs, Impermium and more, here’s a look at the numbers behind the final debate of the 2012 election.
- According to Bluefin Labs’ preliminary data — they’re sending us updated numbers in the morning — Tonight’s debate generated 6.8 million social media comments across Twitter and Facebook profiles that are marked as public. If that number is even close to accurate, that would put this debate way behind the first two, which generated 11.2 and 12.2 social media comments, respectively. (The vice-presidential debate generated 4.9 million social media comments).
- Twitter’s Government and Politics team reports that 6.5 million Tweets were sent during the debate. While that may make Bluefins’ estimate of 6.8 total seem low, remember that Bluefin only counts public accounts, and there are far more public Twitter accounts than public Facebook accounts.
- At 105,767 Tweets, the most Tweeted about event of the debate was Obama’s line about how it doesn’t matter that the US has fewer ships than in the early 20th century because it also has “fewer horses and bayonets.” This was followed closely by moderator Bob Schieffer’s “I think we all love teachers” line.
- According to Impermium, comments slurring Obama exceeded those against Romney by three times. This is an improvement over the last debate when comments slurring Obama exceeded those against Romney by five times
- Overall, however, negativity was up from the last debate. Impermium saw a 50 percent increase in negativity about Obama, a 200 percent increase in negativity about Romney, and a 22 percent increase in insulting comments during this debate vs. the debate last week
- More from Impermium: The top themes provoking profanity on social media were China, oil, jobs, the military, and Iran
- Another look at Twitter activity during the debate, divided by candidate:
- The Twitter Political Index in the hours after the debate:
- A graphic courtesy of Peel TV, a social television app whose users thought Obama won the debate decisively.
Bring in the memes:
- Romney riding into battle:
- Bob Schieffer doing his thing:
- Obama explains the plot of “Superman”.
- And finally, one of the most Retweeted items of the day (20,488 and counting) came not from Donald Trump or some other celebrity, but from a user who, as of this writing, only has 703 followers.