Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Pre-VP Debate Chatter

There are four planned presidential debates leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3. One already took place, the presidential debate Sept. 29 between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Two debates between those two candidates remain, on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. But much has happened since the first debate. Namely, Trump and a handful of people close to him announced last week they had tested positive for COVID-19. That resulted in a brief hospitalization for Trump and plenty of questions about what happens from there in the run-up to Election Day.

The second of the scheduled debates, however, between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris, will proceed as planned tonight. It is the only planned debate between the two candidates for vice president.

With so much chatter about the first debate, Trump, Biden, and the two vice presidential candidates, Social Studio serves as the perfect vehicle to gauge the social media conversation.

To get a sense of what’s being talked about, the keywords “Harris” and “debate,” “Pence” and “debate,” “vp” and “debate,” as well as “vice” and “president” and “debate” were searched for in Social Studio. The search results, as of 3 p.m. on Oct. 7, roughly six hours before the debate, yielded 742,000 posts using those search terms. These results come from any public posts online, including Twitter, YouTube, comments on news articles, forums, some Facebook, and other sources.

Perhaps the best indicator of what is being said comes from a word cloud generated by the search parameters. That is listed below:

From that word cloud are, of course, words from the keywords searched for. But other prominent words include: ‘coronavirus,’ ‘plexiglass,’ ‘task’ and ‘force.’ From this, we can draw conclusions such as the ongoing pandemic will continue to be one of the most important topics, as it is a large part of the ongoing social media conversation. The mention of plexiglass could very well be as a result of the vice presidential candidates agreeing to its use as a barrier between them, as well as more physical distancing, according to CNN and other media outlets. It is also possible that ‘task’ and ‘force’ are being used because of Pence’s role as the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

There are plenty of posts made by those who identify on both sides of the political aisle. For instance, one growing concern is that moderator Susan Page of USA Today, wrote a biography on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

While an example of a democratic post with a large influencer score is this by Mother Jones:

Follow us tonight on Twitter: utccismcc for more coverage, as we provide live updates of the social media conversation during the debate. The debate, from the University of Utah, is slated to begin at 9 p.m. ET.