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. mike electrician

    Now we get to the debates on Immigration, Foreign Policy. And guess what congressman also voted for that bridge to nowhere...Lyin RYAN...

    October 4, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. CryBabies

    @ Howley...Really Howley?? Very indepth conversation!

    October 4, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Mittens during the debate: "My plan will cover pre-existing conditions"

    Mittens' advisor Eric Fehrnstrom immediately following the debate: "Mittens will only enforce existing law that covers pre-existing conditions if you have continuous coverage, but states will have to decide whether to prohibit pre-existing conditions refusals."

    More lies from Mittens. Don't expect to see them reported on CNN. They're too busy making sweet sweet love to your faces with their lubricated horse race narrative.

    October 4, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Sarky1

    I can't believe CNN, or anyone, is making such a fuss about the Big Bird comment. Romney was simply pointing out an example of some of the things Americans may have to do without if they want to get their country back on track. The time has come to pay the piper, and losing PBS and Big Bird should be the least of their worries. Tough times call for tough measures and at times like these, everyone is going to have to sacrifice something.

    October 4, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. vc

    Cutting funding for PBS is a statement of Mitt's character. He does not care about making sure that nation has accessible, affordable education and culture exposure for the middle and lower class. He cares more about making the rich richer.

    PBS has done more for improving the quality of life for Americans across the board than any president ever will!

    October 4, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Sivick

    cutting funding to pbs to fix the debt is like taking a glass of water out of the ocean and then declaring "look how much drier it is!"

    October 4, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Dynamic

    Debate Results: Romney wants to kill Big Bird.

    October 4, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Frank

    My understanding is that no one is suggesting that PBS should be taken off the air. However, some people, myself included, do not think that funding them by way of tax payer money is such a great idea when the federal governemt is in such a deep, deep fiscal mess. Let them go and find advertising revenue, like every other network on tv. Maybe they could have Big Bird do KFC commercials???

    October 4, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Willard is a Big Bird and that was the biggest take away, I was left with.

    Sensible Americans and I am one of them, will still be voting for President Obama whose not a smooth talking unAmerican salesman.

    October 4, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    I was very disappointed in the debate and not because I thought the POTUS was bad. Actually I was proud of him for being so Presidential. I would have loved to see him hammer Willard on the many lies he spewed though. The moderator should NEVER be allowed to moderate again. He NEVER had control of the situation and he allowed Willard to take over. He kept cutting the mod off and he was very twitchy and kept that smirk on his face.

    Then he switched from severe conservative to moderate over night. I'll give it to him, Willard is a shrewed businessman and snake oil salesman. By the GOP screaming media bias all week, it seemed everyone decided to lay off him and let his lies go. At least we finally got a few specifics.

    I wouldn't count on the same outcome next time though, Willard has stood in front of millions and lied through his teeth while the POTUS was forced to defend the truth.

    I don't know about anyone else but I would prefer my president to be level headed not screaming like a banshee. Can you imagine him in a foreign policy meeting with dignataries and talking all over them? He would disrespect them just like he did the moderator and everyone else.

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 4, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Cheeky (just for fun, but seriously...)

    Sesame Street is in pandemonium! Oscar the grouch is trying see if he would be able maximize profits with Romney, Cookie Monster is hiding his cookie crumbs, Mr. Snufflufugus is now invisible again (hiding), Big Bird just received notice but it was cruel joke from Jokie Smurf, Elmo does not want his World to change. The Count..., well, you get the point. Let's talk about issues and differences between the candidates. No more scoring cheap political points or over-simplified solutions. This is our nation (all 100% of us), so Mr. Romney please tell us where you stand, what you believe, and how you plan to create 12 million jobs. We know where The President stands: giving everyone a fair chance to be successful and live the American dream!

    October 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Shawn Lane

    Since he doesn't want us on Sesame Street perhaps he can tell us how to get to Wall Street~!

    October 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. tykl

    Another thing I love about the Big Bird comment is that as C N n and other 'news' organizations carry the water for the O campaign, they can't help but trip over themselves in hypocrisy. Did Romney offer no specifics about how he was going to make up for tax cuts or did he not? If he didn't, we wouldn't be discussing Big Bird. And Big Bird wasn't the only thing he listed – he had a longer list. So figure out your spin before firing off crazy articles like this – do you want to attack the Big Bird angle or the 'he didn't provide specifics' angle? You can do one, but not both. Unless, of course, your audience is as rancorous as you.

    October 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. NoTags

    We wouldn't have to cut funding for PBS if we let the Bush tax cuts expire and stop unfunded wars.

    October 4, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Rob - NYC

    Look, I like Sesame Street when I was a kid but funding needs to be cut from somewhere. Kids today are 10 years ahead then my generation X. They have internet, ipads, iphones and a host of other gadgets they use. Do you really think they care about Sesame Street? The educational values? Give me a break! I didn't even care to watch it too much and I turned out just fine, a college grad, home owner and a wonderful wife. Lack of Big Bird didn't deprive me of quality education via TV.

    October 4, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. hermit

    Why is anyone surprised that Mittens would fire Big Bird. He likes to fire people and now he can add, "I like to fire people and birds!"

    October 4, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. dubrats

    in this bad economy...the 1st thing we had to get rid of was our life ins, then our health ins....so cry me a river over the fact that maybe big bird will not get funding from me......

    October 4, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. Lea Frey

    My observations on the first presidential debate: Romney came off as a nervous, smirking bulldog who smiled as he rudely hogged the microphone. Obama came off as a polite, presidential debater who should have been more assertive. Jim Lehrer came off as an ineffective wimp, unable to control a bully beating up on everyone's favorite teacher.

    October 4, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. CryBabies

    @ Wake up People.....Advice? Wake UP! LingMAO.

    October 4, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. jon

    Romney threw Big Bird under the bus!!! Sesame Street will be on the street without a job thanx to Romney.

    October 4, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. LacrosseMom

    PS. My husband and I, former Republicans, now Independents thought that Bishop Romney came across as disrespectful to Jim Lehrer!

    Romney ignored the rules, and bullied and lied his way through the debate.

    Again I say........ after weeks of the Romney campaign being on its death bed, Romney was desperate for a win! He got it by manipulating and bullying Jim Lehrer!

    October 4, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Lea Frey

    My opinion of the participants in Oct. 4 2012 debate: Romney struck me as a resembling a nervous, smirking terrier who smiled as he snapped at his opponent. Obame came off as a listless, polite debater who would have been more effective if he had been assertive. Jim Lehrer came off as the parent monitor, unable to control a schoolyard bully who was beating up on everyone's favorite teacher.

    October 4, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Steve

    I think Big Bird should be the write in candidate. Why?
    1) Has positive public opinion and has maintained it for 30+ years
    2) Believes in rules and fair play regardless of who you are.
    3) Counting is important = fiscally responsible
    4) Friend to the minorities
    5) Strong immigration position – Everyone is welcome on Sesame Street as long as you play by the rules
    6) Never taken a dogmatic stand on abortion, gay marriage, or religion
    7) Would make Elmo VEEP

    October 4, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Michael

    I have to say one thing for Mr. Romney, he sure knows how to say things that get peoples attention and get them riled up. 47%, Big Bird....what's next?

    October 4, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. charlieblu

    As kid's my siblings and I used to be woken up every school morning by a very loud, Big bird alarm clock, screeming:
    Wake up, wake up, little boy's and girl's and open your little eye's, this is big bird and is time to get up...it kept going and going, until we got up. Big bird would like to say now...WAKE UP, WAKE UP, little boy's and girl's, and open your little eye's and do not forget to vote on Nov. 6.

    October 4, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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