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. Anonymous

    Look, I'm not going to argue who won the debate. CNNs internals say it all. Apparently there was a Romney pre debate bias to begin with: Romney favorables pre debate: 54% Romney favorables post debate: 56%. Then again, when the only folks CNN could find to poll were southern white folks over the age of 50, this "poll" isn't too supprising.

    What I am going to suggest is that Mitt Romney turned this debate into a circus-like frenzy not appropriate for a man who seeks the office of the President of the United States. Of course, Romney had already turned his campaign into a circus by offering nothing but confusion and backpeddling. Americans aren't the brightest bulbs and this poll proves what many of us in the middle have already suspected: the majority of Americans don't mind that they are lied to ... as long as the lies being told are what they want to hear, regardless of the truth.

    October 4, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. Big Jilm

    You conservatives crack me up! "CNN is so biased w/this talk of Big Bird" – Did you fools see 99% of the other CNN headlines talking about Romney polled as the winner of the debate? Can you really live in such a Bizarro land that you can't read the cover page? Insanity.

    October 4, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. Duh

    The hard thing for the majority of us Americans to realize is that, sometimes, just because we want something doesn't mean we get it. If we can't afford our expenses and we can't generate/earn more, its time to reduce our expenses.

    We are a very childish nation.

    October 4, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Wilson

    You could tell by the look on Obama's face he was getting roasted. The looks on his face also showed him to be a spoiled brat, very unpresidential.

    October 4, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. Jeff

    Geez. Wonder what would have happened if Romney mentioned "Clifford the red dog"?

    October 4, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  6. Sandy

    Romney is going to fire Big Bird!

    October 4, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. Sandy

    Romney is going to fire Big Bird, but keep subsidies for big oil!

    October 4, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Big Bird has become the face of services that could face cuts if Romney is elected. I hope America forces Gov. Romney to put forth concrete plans for how he will pay for proposed tax breaks. Money doesn't grow on trees. Romney would have to make cuts that would leave us more shocked and awed than the idea of cutting PBS.

    October 4, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  9. JaneLovesJesus

    Do people really not understand the Free Market? Nobody is FIRING Big Bird or CANCELING PBS. Romney is rightfully saying they should pay their own freight. Sesame St. sells gazzillions of books, movies, clothing, toys, furniture) ... EVERYthing! There is NO reason why they need to take $$ from the people & borrow from China on top of that. Big Bird is not going anywhere. He just needs to take his yellow feathered hand OUT of taxpayers' pockets

    October 4, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. Babyboomer

    Big Bird aside, once Jim Lehrer heard Romney say he would cut funding for PBS he lost all control of the debate. Not only will Big Bird by SOL but so will Lehrer and all his co-workers.

    President Obama was trying to remain calm and frankly, I completely understand why he didn't look up very much. I'm sure his eyes would have shown the contempt he (and those of us in the 47%) have for Romney. Romney is a loud mouth bully who has no idea of what it takes to run a country.

    We the people are NOT a corporation. He needs to go back to being a CEO and leave the American people alone. For him this isn't about helping the country, it's about winning a title and a position. Can anyone really imagine this guy in charge of working with our allies much less handling our enemies abroad?

    October 4, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. AAA

    Just so you all know, Big Bird is now shown on the Sprout Channel so the show won't be missed if PBS becomes unfunded.

    October 4, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. Cedar Rapids

    "California – Obama was literally dumbfounded."

    I think we all were when Romney said he would cut funding tor PBS and told Lehrer he would be out of a job. What was romney thinking?

    October 4, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  13. Me IN HOUSTON

    We just got through a serious debate about the serious issues we face as a nation
    We are about to elect one of two candidates with two different visions and way forward for our nation and CNN wants to talk about Big Bird?
    and you wonder why your ratings are down and why fewer people take CNN seriously.
    you have tainted the once noble profession of journalism

    October 4, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  14. GD94134

    What are they feeding Romney? Did someone download some new apps into his cerebral cortex and upgrade his firmware? Wake Up and take Romney to the paint next time President Obama!!! Before Romney cook's Big Bird's Goose!!!

    October 4, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. Jack in Florida

    Save Big Bird....vote Obama 2012. Although Barack did poorly, Mitt is still a liar and a fraud. He may talk and attack better than Barack, but he still flips and flops and has nothing of substance. Romney/Ryan....still lyin!!!

    October 4, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  16. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    We know one thing Big Bird will lose his JOB and PBS is gone???

    October 4, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. Frank

    All of you people that are ranting about this one article being about Big Bird must be blind or stupid. There are a bunch of other articles all over this site talking about other "more important" issues that you could of read instead. Do you think you are being clever or something by making comments about how this ONE article is not so serious? If you wanted to read a serious article about the debate than why did you click on one titled "Mentions of 'Bid Bird' increased 800,000% on Facebook"?

    October 4, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. Billy in NYC

    The Big Bird comment is exactly what he told the workers fired by Bain Capital.
    I like you all hard working people in the factories and plants we Bain Capital bought, but I still have to fire you all for a profit.

    October 4, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. Danger

    Big Bird serves the poor and under privileged, not all families can send their kids to some form of early childhood education. Big Bird (PBS) is sometimes their only source of education at those early years. This would be a step back for the poor.

    October 4, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. ray

    Romney is just another smooth talking crook, very little specifics.

    October 4, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. Nick

    Funny how so many posts are in defense of spending money we're BORROWING. You can't spend what you don't have, and while I also enjoy a few PBS shows it is way past time to spend what we have on what we need, and start cutting back on borrowing and what isn't a necessity until our financial house is in order. Obama has added $5 trillion to the deficit and we have nothing to show for it. Romney is right, no matter how much you may not like it.

    October 4, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. Smkvas

    Love big bird. love PBS and NPR. Love the fact that there is no advertising. It is too much to ask people to support it by donating money in tough economy. Do support the fact that there needs to be a free public domain for TV and radio and goverment should support.
    Believe it or not, for me someone cutting funding to unbiased educational programs is a deal breaker.

    October 4, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  23. Ohio man

    @ 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!

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Wow I said the same thing.. If you notice Mitt changed his whole policies/ position around from what he was campaigning on He sound like a Democrat

    October 4, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. cc423

    Do you know how much it is reported "firing" Big Bird will save? 0.00014% of the budget. Good job Romney!

    October 4, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. GI Joe

    Romney will do away with Big Bird for kids and replace it with daily readings from the Book of Mormon and demands of 10% of your pay to support the Bishops.

    October 4, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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