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Women of the Hour: Social Media Responses to New York Times Endorsement

In a historic development in what has proven to be a historic campaign season, The New York Times announced that it is endorsing two candidates in the 2020 Democratic Primary, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The editorial board argued that there are three current visions for the country on the table in the upcoming election. The first is Trumpism. The second and third respective options are the progressive/left and moderate/center left. The Gray Lady has argued that Warren is a better leader of the progressive movement than Bernie Sanders while Klobuchar beat out a host of other moderate Democrats including the 3 Bs (Biden, Bloomberg, and Buttigieg) to win the other half of this historic recognition.


Image result for amy klobuchar and elizabeth warren

Senators Amy Klobuchar (L) and Elizabeth Warren (R) have lagged in the polls but have been hailed by The New York Times as the best representative of their respective ideologies. Photo: The Guardian

But history is rarely made without controversy, and the Times likely unprecedented decision to endorse two candidates earned them a host of scorn in the broader press. The Nation argued that the endorsed failed everyone. CNN called it “utterly confusing.”The New Republic called the process a “charade.” But in addition to the frustration over the double endorsement decision, there was also hints of a larger discussion that intensified the night Hillary Clinton conceded: can a woman (regardless of ideological stripe) be elected President of the United States?


With both topics in mind, we head over to Social Studio to get a sense of what people are saying. Using the keywords “New York Times” and “Endorsement” we get 25,000 hits. We’ll download a quick sample of 100 results to include those from social media, news sites, blogs, etc. The results were somewhat surprising. Although many of the posts we looked at were angered over the Times decision to endorse both candidates, the heaviest criticism seemed to come from the left such as this Tweet below:

In order to get a different angle on the endorsement, we use Social Studio’s Workbench feature to drill down into the results. Since the Times endorsed two women and I did not see any remarks opposed to the idea of a woman being president in the sample, I wanted to see a greater break down of the full data set. We broke the results down by gender and found that men had a 71% positive sentiment assigned suggesting that there may not have been much opposition to the endorsement of two women for the presidency. When we look at the hashtags used by the male users who had a negative sentiment, we see Bernie Sanders as well as Donald Trump represented among the hashtags. This is not to say necessarily that these users oppose a woman being elected president as there negative sentiment may be for other reasons.


Investigating these topics shows us how Social Studio can be used to break down results and give us overviews as well as offer us opportunities to view data at a more granular level. If you haven’t already, please stop by the Social Media Command Center soon!