October 4th, 2012
12:42 AM ET
8 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. Joebakb

    It is absolutely hilarious how many people think that cutting funding to public TV is just a bad move. Do you want better education in schools or do you want to watch ladies learn how to quilt. There are some good shows on there, but if people were actually watching any of PBR's programmingt, we'd have more shows like that on cable. Sesame Street is a good example because people actually know what it is. I would wager that most recurring shows on PBS have very few fans that DVR the programming every day/week. It's a chunk of money that goes to something that nearly nobody watches. What do you want: your nostalgia or to cut your country's fat even if it is a little at a time? If you're that concerned about what happens to PBS, then there is this:: https://www.pbs.org/donate/pbs-foundation/ You know, the donation thing that none of you have ever even given a thought about using.

    October 4, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. ExRepublican

    Romney going to fire big bird..Romney you going to have artistic mothers mad at you because they love big bird.
    Romney seem like a angry man on the stage with no plan. I notice Romney was telling narrator what to do.
    Romney didnt answer some of the question.
    Obama please ask Romney why dont he like 47% of american.
    I suprise the narrator didnt bring 47% up

    October 4, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Mary Hruby

    Really? Your first top story is about Big Bird??? Sad – Thought CNN would be better than that!

    October 4, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. tykl

    I love when the Left says Romney only won on style. If you consider style to be leadership, intelligence, having a plan, not putting up with the other's lies, being passionate, having enough class to do what most normal people do (look at somebody when they talk to you), having substance, knowing the facts – then you are right, Romney won on style.

    October 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Squigman

    It's amazing how many people believe cutting someone else's legs off, saves them. When ever any jobs are done away with, the economy suffers. Oh! that's right. All republicans believe they stand alone, regardless of how many it takes to prop them up.

    October 4, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. pam

    My kids loved S. Street when they were very small and we only had 3 channels. My grandchildren have never cared for it. 1. Because there are so many better shows to watch, 2. Because half of everything is in Spanish. Honestly I always thought it was all private donations. There is just no place for this station in the modern world.

    October 4, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Glenn

    I never saw the point of PBS until I was flipping stations & ended up on PBS . They were showing what would happen if a hurricane hit New Orleans and what would happen . Katrina hit a year later and terms that were mentioned on that Frontline episode like " tea cup " effect were talked about again by experts after the fact .

    I dare you to find more informative TV than Frontline & Nova . PBS is money well spent .

    October 4, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Luke Brown

    Does anyone think that cutting PBS's Federal support is going to fix the deficit. Get real people.

    October 4, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Roscoe Chait

    Romney will cut Big Bird's budget. Say it ain't so! Now we know why Romney tied his dog to the roof of his car. He hates puppies and puppets. Is there no end to his insanity? Seriously... Romney acted like he was pumped up on energy drinks last night and lied about everything. But I think he told the truth about Big Bird. He's going to pulverize the yellow bird if he gets elected. Sob!

    October 4, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Max

    so Romney said he'd cut PBS, which is less than 1% of the budget, but promised not to cut defense spending which is 25%...that will surely reduce the deficit.

    October 4, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. 1twinsfan

    Be prepared for the "Romney wants to fire Big Bird" bumper stickers.

    October 4, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Simon

    Aren't at least half of Obama's likes fake? I swear I remember reading an article detailing she numbers but I have forgotten the exact amount.

    October 4, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. thetrickster

    Anyone who suggests that there are better shows to watch on other channels besides PBS clearly hasn't watched PBS. What i think you mean is that there are more popular shows for kids on other channels like Hannah Montana, and other Disney properties but that doesn't mean the shows are "better". It's a fact that since PBS does not have to solicit advertisers to publish their content, they are not beholden to corporate interests like public/cable television programming. Nova is pretty much the best show on Earth. It is truly a masterpiece that has existed for decades. Anyone who thinks PBS should lose its funding does not watch PBS and thinks scientists are stupid, anyway.

    October 4, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Hugh Jass

    "Where does all that money go? Does it go back to tax payers? HMMMMMM NO!" Let me clear that up for you, bozo. The characters are owned by Henson and the Children TV workshop, which produces a show called SESAME STREET which PBS buys and shows. I know, it makes your head hurt to think that hard, and you prefer Romney's simple explanation of "PBS owns Big Bird." Get real; bigots hate Sesame Street because it tells kids they can be friends with people of different colors. Also, it teaches them to read outside the Bible.

    October 4, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |

    You go girl. Yes she got down JaneLoveJesus. Preach it sister. When you came to the conclusion on that last sentence I busted out laughing. YOU ARE TELLING THE TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ON THAT THERE. They need to stop playing they know they are both in some of that bad deal decision making together plus some of them others.. Who Romney think he is fooling trying to throw everybody off with the Niki Minaj (endorsed Romney) vs Mariah joke knowing Mariah look better she mad cause Mariah is older than her and still look stunning and better than her. BAM. I cannot stop laughing at this mess going on this year. It has been a crazy year I must say. ROMNEY MAKING THEM OLE SCAPE GOAT COMMENTS. Trying to use him to take the blame for all the decision makings in the back ground when it takes more than one. I did not look at the debates cause I am not voting. When I seen the comments I busted out laughing THE USA IS A CIRCUS ACT AND STILL THERE IS NOT SOLUTION TO THAT 16TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT. Romney you can't stop BIG BIRD. THEY GOT YOUR BEHIND. Bless his heart he could not come up with nothing else. Romney tell the American People them plans you have when it come to them background deals on that OIL. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! NO SERIOUSLY THOUGH YOU ALL NEED TO STOP LYING ABOUT SOME OF THESE BACKGROUND PRIVATE DEALS AND KEEP IT REAL . WE DO NOT WANT TO WAKE UP ONE MORNING IN THE FUTURE AND BE IN WORLD WAR 3.

    October 4, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Just Sayen'

    I'm with Pam, my children loved it, I loved it – but I'm afraid Big Bird has seen his day. My grandkids don't watch it if I put it on, they would rather watch Jake and the Netherland Pirates.

    Having said that and I'm going to catch it for this – if we return to the financial policies that Romney is talking about *AND IT IS MOVING BACKWARD* – I may not be able to aford cable and all the Disney and Nick channels. If that's the case I'll want Big Bird back for sure. Love Nova too btw, but again with the Science channel and Discovery – but republican financial policies...

    Who would have thought that thinking about PBS and Big Bird would leave me so conflicted!

    October 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. zandhcats

    Sesame Street has been part of the educations for the children all over the world for generations,regardless you are rich or poor. If Romney is really care about the education, he would not have announced that he would fire the bird.
    There is no better and informative entertainment/news like PBS, espcially Frontline and NOVA.
    To protect the rich and scarify the less fortunate, is not patriot as he portrait himself. Obama lost so many opportunities to throw some counter argument against him last night, he let Romney repeated lying about his records, without any response or didn't voice strong enough.
    Since when the politicians speak loud for their lies is a winner? If people think they'll swift their votes to Romney base on the shameless lies, it's a tragic of this country.

    October 4, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Borderless

    If even half the people wringing their hands and rending their sleeves over PBS actually knew where to find it in their 500 channels of cable, this story might have some relevance. Let's be honest, for all the good it provides, more people are interested in Jersey Shore than Sesame Street. Sad as that is.

    October 4, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Cathy

    Cutting funding to PBS isnt going to fix the deficit
    Getting rid of govt programs that "dont do their job, or arent useful" as Romney put it will not fix the deficit...
    can someone explain to me how cutting funding and cutting programs is not going to lead to govt workers loosing their jobs??

    October 4, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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