In the world of marketing, we have to rely on data. Great ideas are only as effective as the data that supports or refutes their effectiveness. Ask Hillary Clinton what the data showed after her unfortunate “abuela” campaign. Trust me. She has the data.
While targeting Facebook post advertising towards different demographics, I couldn’t lock down the type of people who supported or bashed Trump. We’ve done hundreds of tests so far and he’s the wildcard. He has supporters and detractors across the country regardless of which combination of targeting criteria we use.
The data perplexed me until I started looking at it differently. We separated it out between positive and negative stories and the picture became much more clear. On stories that highlighted a negative about him, his supporters chimed in 5:1 over his detractors. When the stories were positive, his detractors chimed in 6:1 over his supporters. In other words, people tend to be more negative about Trump stories; if the stories pro-Trump, his detractors commented and if the stories were anti-Trump, his supporters chimed in.
We compared this to other candidates and the split was much closer regardless of the temperature of the story. Here’s a quick breakdown comparing the comments as positive:negative in ratio:
- Ted Cruz – 5:3
- Marco Rubio – 3:4
- Ben Carson – 2:1
- Jeb Bush – 2:7
- Chris Christie – 1:1
- Carly Fiorina – 4:3
- Rand Paul – 2:1
- Others Combined – 2:7
You might be wondering what this could possibly mean. Scientifically, we have no idea. Speculatively, it means that Donald Trump is polarizing without necessarily being engaging. In other words, his supporters and detractors are more interested in attacking the opposite view rather than supporting their own view.
Unfortunately, we’re not looking at a statistically viable data set because it was never intended to isolate this type of information. It’s anecdotal at best, but we’re going to slightly shift the parameters to make it more valid. Whether that can be done before the primaries start is unknown.
We do know this: the true level of Trump support is still up in the air. Polls are inaccurate but we can’t be sure which direction reality will land. In other words, he might have more support than the polls show for all we know at this point.
The biggest takeaway is this: Trump’s support is different. We won’t know until people the actual caucuses and primaries if this difference equates to being more passionate (and therefore more willing to actually vote) or if it’s a surface support. All we know is that it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.