Data Shows Latinos Felt Scared, and Clinton Campaign Made Little Headway with Latinos on Facebook

Mike Su
Mike Su
Jan 27, 2017 · 5 min read

tl;dr — We looked at emojis in comments to our political coverage, mapped those to sentiment, and saw that fear was the overwhelming sentiment heading into the election. We also looked at candidates’ Facebook following amongst Latinos, and saw that the Clinton campaign had just a fraction of the Latino followers that both Bernie and Trump had.

mitú is a Latino digital media company with 3.1M fans that publishes hundreds of pieces of content a month. We get more likes, comments, and shares on a monthly basis than much larger pages such as BuzzFeed Video, .Mic, Vice, and many more. As a result of that publishing, we get a lot of interesting signals about attitudes, tastes, and preferences amongst Latino youth. We’ve tested a lot of content, built custom social listening tools, and we are certified as having the dopest dataset in the world, scientifically speaking.

Now that the dust has settled a bit post-election, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at all of our political content to better understand, well, what the heck just happened.

The Data Set

First, we started with 474 posts we’ve made this year that relate to politics. We then categorized them based on keywords they contain:

  • Blue: ‘hillary’, ‘clinton’, ‘bernie’, ‘sanders’, ‘dnc’, ‘democrat’, ‘hrc’, ‘the bern’ ‘thebern’, ‘with her’, ‘withher’
  • Red: ‘trump’, ‘rubio’, ‘cruz’, ‘gop’ ‘republic’, ‘maga’, ‘great again’, ‘greatagain’, ‘swamp’
  • Hillary: ‘hillary’, ‘clinton’, ‘hrc’, ‘with her’, ‘withher’
  • Trump: ‘donald’, ‘trump’, ‘maga’, ‘greatagain’ ‘great again’, ‘swamp’
  • Bernie: ‘bernie’, ‘sanders’, ‘the bern’, ‘thebern’

Then we sent our social listening tools to go look at the comments section (since, you know, that’s work too dangerous for humans). Specifically, we wanted to look at the use of emojis in the comments section as a measure of reaction sentiment. We mapped those emojis to sentiments using Delenn Chin, Anna Zappone, and Jessica Zhao’s analysis of election sentiment on twitter:

Overall Audience Reaction

The above chart summarizes overall emoji based sentiment from the comments section. If the above chart is too confusing, basically, the closer we got to the election, the more our audience felt like this:

While interesting, it’s certainly hard to understand the significance in isolation. So we did the same thing, except against the CNN Facebook page and the BuzzFeed News Facebook page. Here’s what we saw:

Obviously, the sentiment is also influenced by the editorial coverage and tone. For reference, our audience is 69% Latino, 8.8% African American, 1% Asian American.

Candidate Sentiment

What about reactions to content pertaining to each candidate? Below is the reaction sentiment for articles that reference Clinton. Of note, the two crossover points — the first occurred in June, right around when Hillary clinched the nomination, where positive sentiment continued to plunge, lower than negative sentiment. The second crossover appeared heading into the election as the audience seemed to rally around her closer to election.

Sentiment around Donald Trump remained consistently more negative than positive, with the gap widening over the summer.

Looking at the spread of the sentiment for each candidate, it is striking that sentiment density around Trump and Sanders was much tighter and stronger than the sentiment around Hillary. Hillary was definitely the more polarizing of the three.

Fan Following

Finally, we thought it’d be interesting to see the distribution of fan page following amongst Latino audiences. Using Facebook Audience Insights, we looked at all US Hispanics, English, Spanish, Bilingual, WeAreMitu fans, and young Latinos (18–34). We pulled this information post-election in November.

Important caveat — this shows, out of the total population of each segment, what percentage is interested in each category (basically, if they like the page). That means this data does not necessarily indicate affinity: a reporter for Breitbart could just as easily “like” Hillary’s page just to stay informed. But it does indicate to whom those candidates are able to get their message in front of. Given Facebook uses this to determine “interest”, we feel it’s a good proxy.

Obviously from the table above, the most striking piece of information is the incredibly low interest by Latinos in Hillary. Across ALL Latinos on Facebook, she has just a quarter of the interest than Donald Trump!!!

This becomes less shocking in light of reports of record low spending by the Democrats on Hispanic outreach. Of course, this data is limited to what is happening within the Facebook ecosystem, but that is a sizable ecosystem through which nearly half of the adults in America get their news and information. Couple that with reports of Trump’s campaign moving quickly and efficiently to grow their base through Facebook, and this data becomes even less surprising. Democrats considering abandoning the White Working Class vote to play to their strengths in multi-cultural urban youth should be cautious about taking that vote for granted.

I asked Lucy Flores, former Nevada State Assemblywoman and current VP of Public Affairs at mitú, for her thoughts:

“These insights offer a unique measurement of how Latino youth were feeling about this year’s presidential election. While Democrats boasted about their standing with the Latino community in general, Latino youth were feeling very differently. These insights demonstrate that the disconnect between strategy and reality persisted throughout the entire general election. In 36 months, multicultural youth will be the majority in America and Democrats will have to adjust their outreach strategy if they want to recoup their losses in 2018 and 2020.”

Mike Su

Written by

Mike Su

chief product officer for mitú. fomerly @upworthy, defy media. christian. dad. husband. bald.