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The End of the Three-Way Race

Declared Candidates Enjoy Bumps

Since candidates have begun to launch their campaigns in earnest, media and campaign events “in the real world” have translated into surges in mention counts on Twitter. You can see this effect in the last month of daily mention counts.

Daily Mention Counts for Potential Democratic POTUS Candidates from December 24, 2018 to January 15, 2019

Elizabeth Warren (violet) surged after announcing her exploratory committee and barnstorming Iowa starting around New Year. Kamala Harris (light green) surged with the media surrounding her book tour. And Julian Castro (light cyan) surged after kicking off his candidacy with an official event over the weekend.

But as the timeline nears its end on January 15, we can see that the race is underway in earnest, as several other candidates begin to improve their visibility in our collection. So we’ll take this opportunity to take stock of the race so far.

The Month in Review

As demonstrated in earlier posts, the Twitter mention count primary had been largely dominated by Kamala Harris until Elizabeth Warren started doing media and campaign events. Since then. Warren has been mentioned far more often than Harris, pushing her well into the lead overall. But thus far, they stand together in a pack of their own.

Mention Counts for the Month Ending on January 15, 2019

The baseline conversation comes from both left and right. And a substantial number of users are tweeting multiple times about these candidates.

Distribution of Tweets Mentioning Potential 2020 Democratic Candidates in the Month Ending on January 15, 2019

As the volume grows, we can also see the left and right “bubbles” present themselves clearly. We also see an unmistakable “extremist” contribution in the bottom right.1

The Pack Grows

But the daily numbers yesterday suggest that the race is really, truly underway.

Mention Counts on January 15, 2019

And, unlike the mention surge starting Sunday night, the conversation yesterday looks like actual Democratic voters discussing potential candidates.

Distribution of Tweets Mentioning Potential Democratic Candidates on January 15, 2019

Over the next few days, we’ll look at the distributions of some top-tier candidates in turn. We will start tomorrow with the three leaders from last week: Harris, Castro and Warren.

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  1. Note that the green nodes are verified users and the yellow and gray nodes are two types of “unrated” users.

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