Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Last Call for Des Moines: Tickets Out of Iowa (Caucus)

Buffalo Bill (no not THAT Buffalo Bill) once said, “My debut upon the world’s stage occurred on February 26, 1845, in the State of Iowa.” In a way, winning the Iowa Caucus—the first contest of the US major party presidential primaries—is like being born onto the world stage. Barack Obama’s victory there in 2008 convinced many voters that he was a viable presidential candidate. Rick Santorum’s even showing there in 2012 gave unexpected drama (and a foreshadowing of how Trump would ride right wing populism to the presidency) to the previously dull and uninspiring Republican primary that was expected to coronate Mitt Romney. Indeed, winning the Iowa Caucus is such an important part of a presidential run that no one who has lost both Iowa and New Hampshire have gone on to win the presidency since Bill Clinton ran in 1992. No matter how you slice the deep fried butter at the Iowa State Fair, the fact of the matter is that the Iowa Caucus is a central part of the American election process. And since the 2020 caucus is Monday, staff at the Social Media Command Center wanted to get a final look at how things are unfolding in the Hawkeye state.

Average of recent polls shows Sanders winning Democratic Iowa Caucus

Average of recent polls shows Vermont Senator Sanders winning Democratic Iowa Caucus. Source: Real Clear Politics

One interesting finding is that when we do a search for “Iowa” and “election” in Social Studio, we find that although there are 16,000 posts from the past week, this is down 63% from the previous week perhaps suggesting that people are ready to get on with it! Another interesting discovery is that although Bernie Sanders is currently leading the poll average in Iowa, Biden and (to a lesser but still impressive extent) Yang are challenging Bernie for most mentions on Twitter and across the other channels that Social Studio has access to. Other candidates got less mentions such as Elizabeth Warren.

Iowa has been known to cull the field of primary candidates which is appreciated for a Democratic field larger than the Duggar family. But the 2020 election has been different then elections in the past and Iowa will not be able to limit the field like it has in the past. Some candidates such as Sanders, former Vice President Biden, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and others (such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is not even campaigning in Iowa) are likely to continue their campaigns regardless of the results.

But we can learn a great deal about candidates and their supporters based on what we can see in Social Studio. Is one candidate’s supporters more willing to attack the supporters of others? Do people who support say Amy Klobuchar seem open to backing another candidate should the Minnesota Senator not prevail? These are just some of the questions we can seek to answer using Social Studio data. What are some other questions you might have? Test them today!