Hillary: Age Perception Problem?

“I come from the ‘60s, a long time ago,” Hillary Clinton said at Saturday’s Democratic Presidential debate, in response to a question about student activism. The gaffe has mostly fallen on deaf ears.

Hillary Clinton is 68 years old. She was born October 26, 1947. Here is a visualization showing the age distribution of US Presidents upon assuming the Oval Office.

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To date, only three US Presidents between the ages 65-69 have assumed the Oval Office. Once again, Hillary Clinton is 68 years old. She “come(s) from the ‘60s, a long time ago.”

Granted, the US population is aging. However, when selecting Presidents, this aging US population has trended towards younger Presidents.

Age upon assuming Oval Office: Barack Obama, 47 years old; George W. Bush, 54 years old; Bill Clinton, 46 years old.

Hillary wishes to dispel the age perception. HFA recently posted the SnapChat logo wearing a most recognizable pantsuit.

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Of all the social networks, Snapchat skews youngest. According to Business Insider, 45% of Snapchat users are between the ages 18-24.Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.44.44 PM (2)

Thus, a strategy has emerged: capture the young mind. Win the unspoiled voter, who is excited by the prospect of casting her first vote. Btw, Hillary uses Snapchat.

Further evidence of the strategy:

Twitter Banner displaying young prospective voters

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HFA blog post appealing to youth and “a new age”

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We should expect age to become a louder issue as the campaigns unfold. For reference, here are the ages of all the candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. Those between the ages 44- 60 are in bold.

Hilary Clinton, 68 years old

Bernie Sanders, 74 yeards old

Martin O’Malley, 52 years old

Donald Trump, 69 years old

Ben Carson, 64 years old

Marco Rubio, 44 years old

Ted Cruz, 44 years old

Jeb Bush, 62 years old

Carly Fiorina, 61 years old

John Kasich, 63 years old

Rand Paul, 52 years old

Sentiment Analysis: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Tweets, Oct 5 – Oct 11, 2015

Emotion drives our decision-making. By appealing to emotion, others can persuade us to make decisions. We experience this during political campaigns.

Donald Trump knows the power of emotion. A charismatic leader, Trump infuses his speeches with appeals to emotion. Sentiment analysis makes this clear.

Comparing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I sampled tweets from their respective profiles, published between Monday October 5, 2015, and Sunday October 11, 2015. Using sentiment analysis, each tweet was given a score between -1, the most negative, and +1, the most positive. Plotted across the 7 days, the results are displayed below, with Trump in red and Hillary in blue.
sentimentanalysisfinal

Trump exhibits a noisier sentiment artifact. Trump has almost no tweets with a sentiment score of 0. Trump peaks at +1 nine times; Hillary peaks at +1 three times. Using statistics, we see with Trump there is a greater range of sentiment, with a tendency towards positive sentiment. The Median Sentiment for Donald Trump is 0.21, whereas the Median Sentiment for Hillary Clinton is 0. The Standard Deviation for Donald Trump is 0.39, whereas the Standard Deviation for Hillary Clinton is 0.30.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Median Sentiment 0.21 0.00
Standard Deviation 0.39 0.30

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So why does this matter? Noisy sentiment drives engagement. 

The chart below shows average tweet engagement for the respective profiles, for tweets published between Monday October 5, 2015, and Sunday October 11, 2015.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Avg. Retweets 1028 783
Avg. Favorites 2136 1196

– Trump received 1.31 retweets for every 1 retweet Clinton received

– Trump received 1.79 favorites for every 1 favorite Clinton received

So while some political analysts doubt Trump’s ability to win over the Republican Establishment, these findings clearly show Trump resonates with the people who have direct access to him on Twitter. Like television before it, social media has ushered in a new era of political campaign strategy, and we must ask, how will this new means of communication influence the selection of the Republican Presidential Nominee.