The Question Twitter Actually Wants To Ask At Tonight’s Debate

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What issues do voters really care about at tonight's Democratic debate in Brooklyn? To find out, Jake Hershey, director of business intelligence at Refinery29, analyzed Twitter data to see what people are talking about ahead of the event.
Hershey looked at the 16,000 most recent tweets containing the "demdebate" hashtag. The tweets were posted between April 5 and today, April 14. "The pace of 'demdebate' tweets has grown from 1,300 per day, across most of those days, to 2,700 per day in the last two days," Hershey explained.

Popular issues mentioned in tweets that used the hashtag included the Panama Papers, a document leak that allegedly contains details of world leaders' offshore holdings, which accounted for 5% of tweets and 6% of likes. Voting rights also accounted for 5% of the tweets and 6% of likes. Other words that frequently appeared in the tweets include Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and "warmonger."

"Overall, the pro-Hillary sentiment is strong on Twitter, with 22% of the tweets and 31% of the likes going to tweets containing the #HillYes, #ImWithHer, or #Hillary2016 hashtags," Hershey noted. "Bernie is getting the same number of positive tweets (22% of the tweets contain #feelthebern or #bernie2016), but fewer likes — the pro-Bernie tweets garner only 24% of the likes."

Many "demdebate" tweets also featured the hashtag #NYPrimary, suggesting that the debate, which will be held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, could influence voters in New York state. The New York primaries will be held on Tuesday, April 19.

For more on the Democratic debate in Brooklyn, visit Refinery29's Vote Your Values Facebook page, where we're livestreaming outside tonight's event. And check out our Vote Your Values poll, where we surveyed millennial women about what issues matter to them, here.


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