October 4th, 2012
12:42 AM ET
2 years ago

Mentions of 'Big Bird' increased 800,000% on Facebook

(CNN) - All politics is social – and the world of Facebook is buzzing about the presidential debates. "Romney," "Obama," and "debate" were the top three debate-related terms mentioned on Facebook, but the fourth most popular term, "Big Bird," is undoubtedly the most unexpected trending word or name that arose from the debates.

During Wednesday night's event, the words "Big Bird" were posted to Facebook more times than "taxes," "Jim Lehrer," "Obamacare," "insurance," "Medicare" or "education."

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Mentions of the Sesame Street character increased by nearly 800,000% after Romney said "I love Big Bird' in an answer saying he would cut funding for PBS.

While mentions of Big Bird grew exponentially, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were still mentioned more than 12 times more than the giant yellow bird.

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Romney had 11% more Facebook mentions than Obama during the debate. But overall on Wednesday, the president was mentioned more than half a million times more than Romney. Obama had over 2.5 million unique Facebook mentions, compared to nearly 1.9 million from Romney.

These mentions include interactions with the candidates' Facebook pages. Obama has more than 29 million Facebook fans, and Romney has more than 9 million.
According to CNN's Facebook Election Insights, both candidates each got more than half a million Facebook unique mentions in the 10 p.m. ET hour.

For more Facebook data on the candidates, visit CNN's Facebook Election Insights tool.

READ MORE: CNN Poll: Most watchers say Romney debate winner

READ MORE: KitchenAid apologizes for tweet insulting Obama


Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Facebook • Mitt Romney
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Namekayye

    Yeah I see how getting rid of Big Bird is going to help is close the deficit. Oh how about looking a man right in his eye and say I.like you but if I'm.elected you won't have a job.

    October 4, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  2. California

    Obama was literally dumbfounded.

    October 4, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  3. LJK

    "Mentions" on Facebook, those can be positive or negative so the statistic means nothing.

    October 4, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  4. LordAstral

    Mentioning Big Bird by name was a huge screw up by Romney. This debate will be forgotten in a week, but people will be saying things like Romney wants to fire Big bird, or Romney's going to outsource Big Bird for a long time. IT might even be big enough to be the only thing Romney is remembered for should he lose the election.

    October 4, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  5. Paddy kay

    Obama will thrill at the end!

    October 4, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  6. Mike

    CNN you are so BIAS! Why don't you mention that Mr. Romney KICKED Obama's... 67% to Obama's 38% in the presidential debate?! You have to report the stupid stuff instead of the important facts!

    My post is in moderation by the CNN thought police

    October 4, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  7. Mike

    I watch PBS and consider it to be an indispensable part of having and educated and informed electorate. PBS covers issues with the sort of depth that you will not find on commercial stations driven by maximizing profits and ratings at the expense of thoughtful content. The airwaves are part of the public domain, that is why commercial stations have to have charter from the FCC. At least some airspace should remain public, and should remain partially funded by the federal government. The costs for keeping public radio/TV are miniscule compared to the federal budget, by the societal value is great.

    October 4, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  8. David

    You didn't mention in this article that Romney said he would eliminate Public Broadcasting (PBS), which has Sesame Street, Big Bird, as one of its ongoing shows/characters. I wonder how many people/votes watch or have watched Sesame Street, i.e. votes lost by Romney's in your face attack on anything that serves the needs of the public.

    October 4, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  9. Cecilia

    Obama is very presidential and more likable.The other one, is a bully and very unlikable. We will continue to vote for the president Obama I cannot believe a word romney says.

    October 4, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  10. jellylee20202

    Typical of Romney, "I love Big Birds" before cutting PBS funding. I guess that's what he told his employees before shipping their jobs overseas.

    October 4, 2012 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  11. ctbeckyw

    I know why Romney wants to fire Big Bird... It's not the PBS funding at all. He's ticked because he's never been invited to Sesame Street to play.

    October 4, 2012 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  12. Pfffft

    Romney shellacs Barry and the only diversion CNN can offer is Facebook "likes" and searches for Big Bird?

    Can you say 'futility', CNN? I know you can.

    October 4, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  13. Denny

    Romney said he loves Big Bird and likes Jim Leher but he doesn't think the government should fund radio or television programs, especially in this economy. They should compete in the market place like any other television or radio show. I agree. If you love NPR, support it.

    October 4, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  14. Why does Romney want to get rid of PBS

    Why does Romney want to cut funding to PBS? This small slip gives an indicator into where Gov. Romney would take the direction of the US. We should be concerned. PBS is not an entitlement. It enriches the nation.

    October 4, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  15. Essentially Romney wants to fire Big Bird.

    Essentially Romney wants to fire Big Bird. News flash, the nation is not a business only focused on dollars and cents. People's lives are at stake and Gov. Romney still can't provide details on his plan.

    October 4, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  16. jblah

    Big Bird Economics (TM)!!!!!!!!!!!!! (n) – Defines a method in which the middle and poor pay a significant higher tax rate than the rich so that the rich can enjoy themselves. Synonym: Reverse Robin Hoodism

    October 4, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. 2012liberal

    Read between the lines of romney. I think obama roped a dope and romney played right n2 it along w media. He didnt hv 2 beat up on romney. His words and policy will hang him. Coopins' for health care, education and fed govt only 4 war!

    October 4, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  18. NanH

    Poor Big Bird, Romney has left him so conflicted.....First Romney loves BB and then he wants to fire BB, not a shocker though, Romney likes to fire people and doesn't discriminate against big yellow birds

    October 4, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  19. Get a job Hippies

    Lets raise money for PBS by having a hunt big bird season. say for a couple of weekends a year we can go on down to sesame street and see how many big birds we can bag????

    October 4, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  20. jeanie cameron friedberg

    We saw romney, professional salesman sell his snake oil...lies stacked on lies, and just like those news orgs who refused to speak up about the lies regarding Iraq, resulting in millions of dead and maimed...again few are brave enough to speak out with integrity and expose another deranged, egomaniacal billionaire, apparently suffering from penal atrophy, eager to prove his manhood by playing with the country's military toys...lying and distorting facts with few credible voices left who aren't bought and sold. God help us if this latest sociopath buys himself into the ultimate positon of power ...another generation of the world's children will be lost to the lust for power of another corrupt billionaire...

    October 4, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  21. Bane

    Mitt Romney will fire all of us.

    October 4, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  22. Name T. moreida

    We love big bird too. When so many programs that's really help people are getting cut big bird is the least of my priorities. Where's the special education budget?

    October 4, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  23. Aksarbenga

    Romney didn't say he would fire Big Bird; he said he would take him off welfare. Good decision.

    Personally, I like the concept of making funding decisions on whether or not it is "worth" financing it through China. Reasonable concept.

    October 4, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Why does mittens hate Big Bird?

    October 4, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  25. Name Suzette

    Rom eye lies and lip flop were obvious. Hope he does not get away with it . Read between the lines. He seemed like a bully as he laughs and hide the lies. Did anyone see that.

    October 4, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
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