Trump lost the race to 270 but won the game of online mentions
The president-elect is now officially Joe Biden, but the sitting president would not give the stage over so easily – and neither did he in the online world.
One of the events that kept many of us on our toes in the last couple of months was the US elections, and the campaign leading up to it. In today’s global world the decisions made in America will inevitably affect some aspects of our lives in Europe, too, so it is no wonder the public opinion could not remain neutral here either.
When the votes were counted and eventually Joe Biden crossed the line to the necessary 270 electoral votes, it became painfully clear just how divided the “United” States are. That's why we wanted to map the course and mood of the online conversations in Europe as well with Neticle Media Intelligence. We searched the Austrian, German, Hungarian and Polish web for mentions of Joe Biden and Donald Trump from the 1stof September to the middle of November.
A trend that became clear immediately is that Donald Trump was mentioned way more than Joe Biden in all four countries – sometimes more than twice as much, like in Austria and Germany, but he easily won the race in Hungary and Poland too. The number of Joe Biden’s mentions only slightly surpassed that of Trump’s on the day when it was announced that he'd won the election. Joe Biden himself tweeted about Trump several times, and some of his tweets were very popular in Europe too, retweeted by users in Austria, Germany and Poland.
Donald Trump is the worst president we've ever had.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
A campaign in the time of Corona
At the beginning of October, there was a large peak in the mentions in each country, caused by the news that Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalised. The general opinion about it was gloomy everywhere, but much more so in Germany and Austria, where half of Trump’s mentions on the 2ndof October were negative. Meanwhile, only a quarter of the mentions in Hungary, and 12% of the mentions in Poland expressed a negative opinion about the event.
The general mood can be summed up in the following tweet, which was in fact one of the most engaging posts in Austria.
My father died of Covid alone in a hospital. I had to say goodbye to him over a phone. Trump got a joyride to sooth his desperate need for attention, while endangering the lives of the Secret Service people in the car with him. To hell with him and all who enable him.— Curtis Armstrong (@curtisisbooger) October 5, 2020
Maybe it wasn't a landslide victory, but it was followed by an online landslide
The other unmistakable mention peak is of course the election itself, where Donald Trump’s reputation suffered a fatal blow in all countries as he lost the election.
Parallel to that, Biden’s victory resulted in a positive turn in his reputation...
...except in Hungary, where users were almost as negative about him as about Trump. The negativity partially came from the intensity of the aggressive debate between users, but actual criticism was also expressed towards Biden, such as he is too old, or that he isn’t actually much different than Trump. Some also repeated the accusations about election fraud.
Twitter was the most important platform in the discussion in Germany and Poland, with 60-70% of posts coming from there. In Austria, mentions came from articles, Twitter and Facebook in equal measure. Hungary however is different in this regard as well: here, Facebook matters the most.
Overall, even though Trump turned out to be a one-term president, he managed to generate huge waves of online debate everywhere - too bad there isn't an award for that.