Welcome to 2016; we’ve finally made it to Election Year! The first debate of 2016 – hosted by Fox Business Network – was nothing short of entertaining. Seven Republican hopefuls came with their arguments ready for Thursday night’s GOP debate, and Yakkers were engaged in the showdown: 7.6% of all yaks during that time were about the debate. That was even higher than the 5% of all yaks that centered around the #SOTU during President Obama’s speech on Tuesday night! As punches were traded and candidates exchanged heated comments, who made the biggest impression according to Yik Yak?
Marco Rubio was the runaway leader. He led the candidates on stage with both the highest level of approval (43.3%) and the lowest level of disapproval (34.8%). This was a continuation of his strong showing among Yakkers – he’d finished 2nd to Rand Paul in both the December and (narrowly) November debates, after winning outright in October.
Ted Cruz - while fighting for attention with Trump on stage – was also fighting to come out on top among Yakkers. He fell just short of the top spots, finished 2nd in mentions while having both the 2nd-highest approval (34.6%) and 2nd-lowest disapproval (37.8%). Rounding out the top three was candidate Chris Christie, who posted an approval rating of 24.1%.
So where does the current Republican front-runner stand? Donald Trump trumped the field in terms of mentions (his 31.9% was nearly twice what Cruz garnered), but also had the worst results in terms of sentiment as his 11.9% approval was the lowest of all candidates. This isn’t the first time that Trump has had a low-approval; his approval percentage has been in the bottom three in October, November and December debates.
Notably missing – according to Yakkers – was Rand Paul. Without even standing on stage, he received 84.9% approval (vs 9.5% disapproval) and had more mentions than Christie or Kasich even without airtime. Toward the end of the debate, some audience members began to chant “We Want Rand!” which seemed to echo the sentiment of Yakkers. This isn’t the first time that Rand has performed well with little airtime; on Oct. 28th during the CNBC Republican debate Paul was the candidate with the least amount of speaking time, and he still managed to have the highest approval rating (twice as much as Rubio) of the night.
Among the topics discussed most on Yik Yak were Democrats, foreign policy, the economy, and social issues. Hillary Clinton and President Obama were buzzwords for the candidates, which resulted in a slew of yaks discussing these Democrats. Only 3.7% of the issues discussed by Yakkers centered around immigration, even with the Trump vs Cruz Birth Battle and Rubio’s passionate speech on his immigration stance.
The first debate of 2016 definitely didn’t disappoint in terms of information or entertainment. As we head into the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses, there’s a lot to consider. Will Yakkers hold firm in their overwhelming approval of Rubio? Will Trump be able to make any positive headway with the Yik Yak audience? Will Paul’s lack of airtime help or hurt him? Can Christie build upon his third-place approval rating, which was his highest on Yik Yak yet?
Just like President Obama said in his State of the Union Address, 2016 is the year for change. Those changes depend heavily on your vote, which is why Yik Yak is here to help provide a place for knowledge, discussion and community during this season. For more of our election coverage, tune into the app this Sunday, January 17th at 9pm ET for theNBC News Democratic Debate Yak Chat. See you there!