Pre-Debate Analysis: 12/19/2019 Democratic Debate

Polling: Biden Leads, Followed Closely by Sanders, Warren in Third

In the latest A+ poll from Marist College, Joe Biden remains at the top in the National 2020 Democratic Primaries. Bernie Sanders follows in close second and Elizabeth Warren trailing in third place. We’ll analyze how the top three candidates are being discussed in the Twitterverse leading up to the December Democratic primary debate.

National 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Poll - Marist College  Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll

Twitterverse Overview

According to MarvelousAI’s StoryArc, Joe Biden leads in Twitter mentions up to Thursday’s debate with a total of 86,901 mentions on Tuesday December 17 and decreasing to 66,875 mentions on Wednesday December 18. Sanders was the second most mentioned candidate on Twitter with 40,853 mentions on Wednesday December 18. Warren was the third most mentioned candidate on Twitter in the two days leading up to the debate.

Who is talking?

The top three candidates have a wide-range of mentions from both left and right-wing twitter users. Joe Biden was mentioned in a high concentration of tweets from right-leaning and non-credible accounts. Out of the top three candidates, Biden has the most mentions from right-leaning sources. Bernie Sanders was most mentioned by twitter users who are left-leaning with a higher commitment to facts. Elizabeth Warren was also mentioned in a high concentration of tweets from left-leaning and more credible sources. Although, tweets that mentioned Warren had more variance compared to tweets that mentioned Sanders, as seen below.

Joe Biden Mentions, Average Bias Graph

Biden: December 17, 2019


Biden: December 18, 2019
Biden: December 18, 2019

Bernie Sanders Mentions, Average Bias Graph

Sanders: December 17, 2019


Sanders: December 18, 2019

Elizabeth Warren Mentions, Average Bias Graph

Warren: December 17, 2019


Warren: December 18, 2019

What are they saying?

Biden has consistently polled strongly since he announced his run for president. Online, right-leaning twitter users continually mention Biden and connect him to conspiracies of corruption. This Biden narrative is most prevalent on Twitter before Thursday’s debate though overall conversations about Biden have not drastically changed over the few days leading into Thursday’s debate.

Examples of  Biden ‘corruption’ narratives on Twitter:


Sanders has been almost untouched by right-leaning twitter users. When he is mentioned the tweets tend to have little amplification. This tweet referencing a Washington Post article is representative of the content and traction. There has been a slight uptick in the antisemitic narrative surrounding Sanders coming into this latest debate.

Warren get more Twitter mentions from right-leaning users than Sanders. But nobody is discussed as much as Biden by this group of users. The conversations around Warren get little amplification and tends to focus on her support of Medicare for All like this one from Breitbart News.

At MarvelousAI, we’ll continue to monitor the conversation.  Get in touch if you’d like to see our tools or collaborate!

Related Posts