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Social media insights: Election Day and legalisation

As the dust settles (or doesn’t) around this year’s most hotly contested political event, we look back on the social media takeaways from the 2016 #USElection. Observify collected and analysed 19.4K social media mentions of the 2016 presidential candidates in the week preceding Election Day (November 8, 2016), and 18.5K mentions from Nov 8 - 9.

The week before

Social media users gave Donald Trump a greater share of voice (67%) than Hillary Clinton (33%). Monitoring the hashtags #ImWithHer, #NeverTrump, #VoteHillary, #MAGA, #NeverHillary and #VoteTrump indicated sentiment that was more negative around Clinton (55% of all mentions were negative in tone, versus 45% positive). Trump-related mentions were 44% negative to 56% positive. This was partly attributable to some users tweeting #ImWithHer sarcastically (these users appeared to be supportive of the Trump campaign).

On the whole, social mentions of Clinton referenced the necessity of voting in the election, while Trump mentions tended to focus on starting afresh. The anti-Washington, Reagan-inspired #DrainTheSwamp hashtag became a staple of many tweets, as a manifestation of Trump voters supporting the idea that a Republican president would ‘clean up’ the White House, ridding it of perceived corruption and scandal.

Overall attitudes as voiced by social media users were characterised by mentions of Trump as an individual, whereas Clinton was mostly mentioned as a representative of the Democrats. Users seemed to regard Clinton as on the brink of making history, but “only” by default.

The night of

During November 8 - 9, Observify monitored the hashtag #ElectionDay, in combination with #MAGA/#MakeAmericaGreatAgain, as well as #StrongerTogether/#ImWithHer.

This time, Hillary Clinton’s share of voice (68%) got the edge on Donald Trump’s (32%), in terms of how many #ElectionDay social mentions focused on her.

Watched pot does boil

Of almost 15.2K mentions we tracked on the election issue of marijuana legalisation, social media was the most active channel, taking up 76.7% of the conversation. Blogs followed, comprising 17.5% of the story, with news outlets at 4.9% and forums at just 0.9%.

Monitoring legalisation sentiment in the voting states, approximately every third mention (amounting to 15% overall) referred to the benefits of legalising pot, regardless of state.

Social media conversation reflects the tight margins of the 2016 legalisation ballot

Arizona was the first voting state to reject the recreational measure, Proposition 205. Simultaneously, Massachusetts remained a fairly close call, with the Yes vote winning by seven points. Media monitoring reflected these phenomena, with four in ten mentions focusing on Massachusetts throughout November 7 - 9.

One of the last states to decide on November 9, Maine was a hairline fracture away from a 50-50 split, with the Yes vote ahead by just one point at the time. Surprisingly however, the ‘Vacation State’ did not appear to inspire the conversation online as much as Massachussetts. (Edit: Maine eventually voted ‘Yes’ at 50.2% for/49.8% against).

50% of the mentions Observify collected discussed California, either as the ‘most influential’ voting state, a ‘game changer’ for the marijuana industry and the Californian economy, or the ‘key state’ on the legalisation ballot.


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