It’s time for a new edition of The Three P’s, tracking how the election conversation is breaking down between three key subject areas: Politics, Policy and Personality.
In our last analysis, we looked at how the first presidential debate shifted the balance (we also explained how we defined each of the P’s).
What about last week’s vice-presidential showdown? We know that of the 4.9 million tweets and public Facebook posts about that event, many were focused on Joe Biden’s facial expressions and aggressive debating style, particularly his tendency to interrupt Paul Ryan.
Behavioral traits and tendencies come under Personality, which has been lagging both Politics and Policy. Did Biden’s combativeness draw enough comments to give Personality a larger percentage of the overall election conversation - the metric we call “share of voice”?
It sure did. As the graph above shows, driven mainly by Biden’s performance, Personality comments soared, trumping both Politics and Policy. Apparently, when a candidate’s personal demeanor takes an unusual turn - Paul Ryan’s heavy water consumption was also a popular topic in social media and beyond - even nuclear war doesn’t stand a chance.
The Personality discussion continued into the next day, when remarks such as Jimmy Fallon’s widely retweeted "Dude" quip were bouncing all over. The next day, Politics and Policy both rose again, and Personality dipped back to its usual spot, bringing up the rear. And there it remained as presidential debate number two approached.