Conversations About Trump Turn Increasingly Negative, Even Among Base
The gap in sentiment between social media conversations about 2020 candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden expanded to 34 points after the first week of protests related to the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, marking the largest gap since Biden became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. Both candidates ended May in net-negative territory, but Biden was at just -12 versus -46 for Trump.
The net sentiment of these every day, offline conversations is important because the defeat of Hillary Clinton was predicted when her net sentiment dropped below Trump’s after the release of the James Comey memo prior to the 2016 election, as reported in the Huffington Post and in Clinton’s book, What Happened. Whereas social media conversation is of questionable predictive value because it is “totally unrepresentative of America,” according to the New York Times, word of mouth is far more representative and predictive.
Republican Sentiment Turns More Negative
The shift against Trump in late May was driven mainly by Republicans, whose net sentiment for Trump fell from +49 to +28 the last week of May. Although traditional polling continues to show high enthusiasm among his base, the shift in Republican conversations are a potential precursor to changes in voting intent, and thus represent an early warning sign for the Trump team.
Even prior to the Floyd killing, and its aftermath, the President’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was driving Republican criticism of Donald Trump. For the eight weeks ending May 31, a majority of Republicans talking negatively about Trump (66%) were sheltering at home due to the pandemic, a larger share than Republicans nationally (52%) who reported staying completely or mostly at home. Also, 29% of Republicans talking negatively about the president were from the Northeast—the region hit hardest by the pandemic—much higher than the share of Republicans overall living in the Northeast (19%).
Read the full MediaPost article, here.
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