Sen. Bernie Sanders won the first Democratic Debate – at least as far as social media is concerned.
The self-proclaimed “Democratic-Socialist” from Vermont was the top candidate discussed on Facebook and Twitter during Tuesday’s debate on CNN, according to each site’s data, which was released later that same evening. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the second most mentioned candidate and former Virginia senator Jim Webb came in third.
Overall, there were 10 million debate-related interactions on Facebook between 4.2 million people.
The moment that caused the most buzz on Twitter and Facebook was when Sanders turned to Clinton during a question regarding her controversial use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state and said, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”
His campaign tweeted the quote and received the most retweets of the night, reaching over 12,000 by Wednesday morning.
The Sanders campaign also used the moment to facilitate donations, by emailing the clip to supporters, encouraging them to to donate “before Bernie steps off the stage.” The campaign reported that it raised $1.3 million in the four hours after the debate started.
Sanders’ quote, “Congress does not regulate Wall Street, Wall street regulates Congress” was the third most talked about moment on Twitter.
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee also received some attention after he defended his vote to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that separated commercial and investment banking, by saying his dad had just died and he had just arrived at the Senate.
Other than that comment, Chafee was not mentioned much on social media. Sanders and Clinton stole the show, receiving 41% and 39% of the debate mentions, respectively.
The most mentions of both occurred in the middle of the debate just before 7 p.m. PDT, which was shortly after Sander’s made his comment about Clinton’s emails. Sanders’ name or Twitter handle was used 12,000 times per minute, while Clinton’s name or Twitter handle was used 8,300 times per minute.
The other most retweeted tweets from Sander’s campaign were a tweet with his quote, “I believe in a society where all people do well, not just a handful of billionaires” and a tweet asking viewers, “Notice how all the other candidates are starting to sound like Bernie Sanders?”
GOP front-runner Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton also had some Twitter attention during the debate.
For instance, Trump expressed his opposition to the Democratic candidates’ support for undocumented immigrants receiving health care. His tweet also received over 12,000 retweets as of Wednesday morning.
On a lighter note, Trump tweeted, “Good move by Bernie S.” The real estate mogul is not clear about what move he is referring to, but the tweet came around the same time as the senator’s quote about Clinton’s email.
Former president Bill Clinton tweeted a picture of him watching the debate, capturing a moment of just his wife on the screen, saying “What happens in Vegas … is I watch [Hillary Clinton] prove she’s the most qualified candidate for POTUS.” The tweet was retweeted over 9,000 times as of Wednesday morning.
And yet despite Bill Clinton’s considerable following, Sanders showed he can garner a huge response from the public. According to the Facebook data, Vermont was the most engaged state during the debate. Their neighboring state New Hampshire, where Sanders currently leads in national polls, was the second most engaged.