Sunday 21/07/2019 - 09:48 am

Facebook chatter about Trump/Pence is now 60% women

2016.10.26 07:32

If you have been talking about Donald Trump or Mike Pence on Facebook this month, odds are you are a woman.

USA TODAYs Facebook Barometer revealed last week that Trump is generating record amounts of traffic on Facebook. But a deeper dive into the data this week reveals that 60% of the conversation about him this month has been generated by women — a higher percentage than Hillary Clinton and a higher percentage than any other candidate this year. (The barometer is a joint project USA TODAY has operated with the social media platform to track Facebook conversation about the candidates throughout the campaign season.)

Trump hit a high of 60.85% women in the conversation two weeks ago; the Pence conversation last week was 60.47% women.

According to the data provided by Facebook, there have only been six instances since July of women generating over 60% of the Facebook conversation about any single candidate. All six of these instances have been either Donald Trump or Mike Pence, and five of them have been in October. The sixth was the week Pence was announced as Trumps running mate in July. (Earlier in the year, Pence and Tim Kaine were generating significant discussion among women, but the total volume of conversations about them was minuscule because neither had yet been picked for the national ticket.)

While the percentage of woman talking about Clinton has been rising, she has yet to break the 60% threshold. Last week, women generated 59.9% of the Facebook conversation about Clinton, her highest percentage at any time this year.

By comparison, women have not generated more than 50% of the conversation about Gary Johnson in any week of this campaign season, and it is been not uncommon for women to generate less than 40% of the Facebook interactions about him. The numbers for Green Party candidate Jill Stein are about the same, though both Stein and Johnson are generating on average less than 5% of the volume of conversation of Trump and Clinton.

Perhaps it is not surprising that women have become so dominant in the Facebook conversation about the presidential race in recent weeks given that so much of it has become a conversation about alleged mistreatment for women by both Trump and Bill Clinton.

The numbers may in part reflect the fact that Facebook, as a “curated” news feed, is a safer place for women to have conversations about uncomfortable topics that have dominated the presidential race, like sexual misconduct, said Lilly Goren, a political science professor at Carroll University in Wisconsin and author of Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics.

The rising number of women in the conversation on Facebook also makes sense, Goren said, because “people are actually voting now — it’s happening. It’s two weeks to go until Election Day. If there is any point where people would be engaged in the election, it’s now.” And women are a bigger share of the electorate than men. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 71.4 million women voted in the 2012 presidential election, but only 61.6 million men.

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