Candidates Get Last-Minute Boost Before The Iowa Caucus

Donald Trump's supporters are far out-tweeting the competition

(Illustration: R. A. Di Ieso)
Feb 01, 2016 at 12:46 PM ET

It’s finally here. Both Democrats and Republicans head into the first nominating contest of the 2016 cycle with very close races—Hillary Clinton poling just ahead of Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump holding a narrow lead on Ted Cruz. Candidates and their supporters are rallying in person and online, looking for that final bit of enthusiasm that will tip the scales.

If social-media enthusiasm translates into real-world enthusiasm, it’s looking like a very good night for white men with New York accents: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are dominating the online buzz heading into the Iowa caucuses Monday evening.

Vocativ used our deep web technology to analyze the top 50 candidate-affiliated hashtags in a total of 326,983 tweets that used #IACaucus or #IowaCaucus since last week. We found that Donald Trump’s supporters are by far the most energized, tweeting more than any other camp in support of their candidate. The Trumpeters are far outdoing fans of his closest Republican rival, Ted Cruz, with Bernie Sanders’s fans were responsible for the second-highest volume of hashtag-related chatter, leading Clinton on the Democratic side.

Trump-affiliated hashtags—such as #CaucusForTrump—appeared in 41 percent of the 326,983 tweets, and Sanders-affiliated hashtags showed up in 32 percent of them. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson weren’t close to making a dent. John Kasich didn’t even show up on the radar.

Fifteen of the top 50 candidate-aligned hashtags were tweeted in support of Trump, 13 backed Sanders, eight were for Cruz and six supported Hillary Clinton. The most-used hashtag in all was #CaucusForTrump, the Trump campaign’s official hashtag for the Iowa caucus.

Some other notable tweets were Sanders’ #FeelTheBern, Cruz’s #CruzCrew and Clinton’s #ImWithHer.

Not every candidate had official or non-official hashtags appear, and some, such as Martin O’Malley’s #HoldStrong, were used in a statistically insignificant number of posts on Twitter.