October 4th, 2012
12:42 AM ET
6 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. lindaluttrell

    If Mittens is elected...MORE firing! NO PBS...NO Big Bird. Wonder if he will OUTSOURCE them instead...

    October 4, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Unil

    angry bird will cut my Big Bird

    October 4, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. bob

    Obama missed a huge opening. He should have said, great, you're finally getting into specifics of what you would cut. What about planned parenthood? Will you go through with what the republicans want and cut that too?

    October 4, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. truth hurts

    Marty, FL
    truth hurts,
    Romney overlooks the fact that PBS employs many hardworking Americans.
    And they will still employ many hard working Americans. They will just have to get the money to pay them from some place besides the taxpayers paycheck. From the sound sof it there are alot of people in here that would gladly donate to fund them. I'm sure all those rich liberal Hollywood stars would gladly flip them a million or two.

    Although it is a bit ironic that all the borrowed Chinese money used to fund Big Bird will have to be repaid, plus interest, down the road by the little kids watching the program. Has Big Bird devoted any time to the art of good money management? Those kids are going to be saddled with massive government debt that will make them slaves, working primarily for the government.

    October 4, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. linda stewart

    What is with most of you, Romney said why should we borrow more money from China to support the government in giving money to PBS. You all make it sound that you can not make any sacrifices and we should hand over our country to China. That has been our biggest problem with the Federal Government, they borrow they hand out money for things we do not need (the bridges to nowhere). Sounds to me that as long as it creates jobs you are all for this. Me, I want a stable country that can take care of itself and can be smart enough to say no (not yes so they can get elected) I want a real man, not someone that can talk the talk, but can also walk the walk. As much as I voted Obama in, he is not this man and many times I have cryed about this. We need someone who is strong and can SAY NO. This is just all my own opinions, all have a great day.

    October 4, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. crmtx

    The most amazing thing last night was the Mitt Romney tried to pass himself off as the most liberal spender in this campaign. He was going to increase spending on education, increase spending on the military, increase spending on Medicare – but Big Bird gets to take a hike. I am disappointed that the President did not point these things out. The truly amazing thing was that the only specific plan for the economy he has presented was his plan for cutting taxes. And he even denied that was his plan last night. I will give him credit – that he did deny it forcefully and passionately – looks like that is all that is counting at the moment.

    October 4, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. CryBabies

    Last night MSNBC looked like the morgue it is....Chris Mathews was on the verge of stroking out (anyone know if he is still with us today?) For over a month you libs, who camp out on this site 24/7, and you know who you are, were touting what a blow out these debates were going to be. I said be careful what you wish for but the arrogance abounded. Your guy was "schooled" last night....he was literally an empty suit. And to hear the comebacks today (from those who dare show up to respond) is pitiful at best. This is just the beginning as it is going to get tougher on BO. But in the same breath not easier on MR. Biden vs Ryan...now that will be a carnival. I wonder how man times Biden will throw out the term "man" in his appearance, as if he's talking to a bunch of Beatniks in a coffee house? The leader of the free world did not look very presidential last night. Can anyone say Jimmy Carter?

    October 4, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota


    Romney is going to fire Big Bird!

    Guess Mr. I Like To Fire People has his heart set on firing Jim Lerher as well.

    October 4, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. CryBabies

    @ bob....Just the taxpayers money that funds abortions...no secret here.

    October 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Friend of Big Bird

    I think Big Bird should debate either of them....there is no doubt he would win.

    It is so stupid to even bring up cutting Public Broadcasting–like that would somehow solve the debt crisis. Give us a break Romney! Get on with REAL issues that would make a difference. PBS already makes a difference–and it is a good one.

    October 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. CryBabies

    @ linda stewart.. Your opinion is noted and very well received. More people need to think like you!

    October 4, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. dscon

    Hey did anyone notice that a Puppet lost some of it's strings last night?

    October 4, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Howley

    Is it just me or does Romney look like he gets an erection whenever he discusses firing people.

    October 4, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Paramad

    PBS accounts for .00014% of our national budget. About $560 million. a drop in the bucket when you consider Mitthead wants to increase military spending from 3.6 or 3.8 % to 4% or more to fund his next war if he is elected.
    PBS does represent both sides of the political spectrum but it is a little hard to do that when you constantly hear Jim Leher say "we invited so and so to present opposing views but they declined our offer"
    I guess truth does tend to have a liberal bias.
    I am concerned that PBS has a hard time funding from purely private sources but why is that? Complacency,money concerns of viewers I don't know but it is egregious that PBS needs gov't funding.
    Imagine the U.S. without PBS,art funding, national park funding ,hundreds of thousands of people who will be left to fend for themselves. Old Mitthead will save some money on the books and it will look good for a bit. Now I want you to take a good long hard look at what will happen if those cuts occur. Imagine how life in your town will change. Take into consideration local hospitals, law enforcement, Parks, libraries, mental health or handicapped services, family services.
    How will all that impact your life? Will you actually be saving money in the long run?

    October 4, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    linda stewart

    What is with most of you, Romney said why should we borrow more money from China to support the government in giving money to PBS.

    Last night Mr. Romney stood on stage during a presidential debate, pointed his finger at the moderator, and told that man he - Mitt Romney - wanted to see that man lose his job. It was a very good glimpse into the moral fiber of Mitt Romney, and the behind the scenes future he envisions for America. And quite typical of his Bain CEO days.

    October 4, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Ininyo Montoya

    Spinners listen up.
    PBS is Publically funded, that is why it is the Public Broadcasting Service not the GBS (Government broadcasting Service). Ever since I was a child I too watched Big Bird... and also watched the commercials that said that tey were funded by donations from "you the viewer". The Gov't subsidizes PBS, not funds them 100% like everyone above is talking about. Don't get it twisted! Also he did not say he was going to "Fire Big Bird or Jim Lehrer", he said sorry, you might be out of a job. One is a statement and one is an action. Critical Thinking needs to be applied, there are too many thing taken for granted here. For those of you here that have taken a Critical Thinking class, you know what I mean.
    I am shocked that the President did so poorly in the Debate, I expected significantly better performance, after all he got elected on the gift of gab. For the record, the 47% was not 47% of America it was 47% of the Obama supporters which counts for a little less than 25% of the voting american public. The presidential race is split around 50/50 right now, so the President is trying to get Gov. Romney's 50% of the votes and vice versa. So, 47% of the President's 50% of voting Americans equals slightly less than 25% of voting Americans. What demographic makeup 25% of amerca? Go to the national census statistics and look it up fr yourself.

    October 4, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. tykl

    People on this site know that PBS gets about 10% of its money from the federal government, right? So decreasing PBS's income by 10% isn't going to put it out of business, it will likely make it more efficient just like EVERY OTHER business has had to do in the tough financial times.

    October 4, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Mack

    Money for the military and war, but no money for big bird, healthcare, education, elderly, poor children, etc.. We lose

    October 4, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. DBCA

    Sure: lets stop borrowing from China to pay for PBS. And continue borrowing from China to fund wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, etc., etc.

    October 4, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. Cheeky

    Romney is definitely a Tea Party candidate: No facts (or created facts) and all attacks. No details from the Blue Meanies. All you need is love folks.

    October 4, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Barry In Las Vegas

    Romney wipes the floor with Obama – CNN polls show Romney won and your lead story is about Big Bird and CNN wants to know why they are losing viewers. And, that stupid Solodad O'Brien saying her son was really upset that Romney was going to stop funding PBS and was sad that Big Bird wouldn't be seen anymore – REALLY! Another meaningful and insightful analysis of last nights debate by CNN and it's reporters.

    October 4, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. mike electrician

    Yea who needs quality programs (Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, The Met Opera, Newshour, NOVA) when we can all tune into Honey Boo Boo... I for one am glad my tax dollars go to quality shows, than adding 2 trillion to defense spending, when we already spend more than the next 20 countries combined. I thought Romney never did say what exactly he would replace anything with. He said he would replace Obamacare with what "I did in MA", well that is essentially what ACA is MITTENS. Sure MITTENS is good at sound bites, but I would rather have someone who has more on their mind than snippets. And yes the Middle class is being crushed, but not from what the President is doing, but rather from the Congress, who wouldn't pass nearly anything if Bush tax cuts were not part of the equation. Sorry MITTENS, most of us are more savvy viewers than those in 1961. I don't look for a bit of sweat on the brow, or a straight face.

    October 4, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. CryBabies

    Lynda/ Minnesota....You just don't get it. Its not about firing people...its about policies that are bankrupting our country. PBS was used in the ideology....we CANNOT continue to borrow money on the backs of our precious children and grandchildren for things we CANNOT afford.. Its simple. Its black and white. Its staring us in the face. It has to do with our country surviving or going under. And yes, its a moral issue but contradictory to your way of expressing it. It would be immoral to continue on by increasing our debt.....words used by BO on the campaign trail in 2008

    October 4, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. crappygovernment

    PBS = worthless unemployables paid by taxpayers...get some real private sector jobs!

    October 4, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Cheeky

    The Blue Meanies are attacking Pepperland!

    October 4, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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