Fiorina gains ground on social media during debate

Fiorina gains ground on social media during debate
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Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made major strides on social media during the second Republican debate Wednesday night, despite Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE’s continued dominance online.

As in the past, Trump was the most-searched candidate on Google, was the most tweeted candidate and was discussed the most on Facebook. He has also dominated polling in recent months.

But CNN’s marathon three-hour debate also gave Fiorina increased attention after she fought to get on the main debate stage for the first time.

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She was the second most-searched candidate, followed by Bush, Ben Carson and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBreak glass in case of emergency — but not for climate change Democrats join GOP in pressuring Biden over China, virus origins Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships MORE (R-Fla.). She was also the most searched candidate in North Dakota, Kentucky, Virginia, New York and a few other northeastern states.

Social media and other tech companies have become increasingly active in pushing out debate stats, and candidates have taken notice. Carson actually blasted out an email to supporters ahead of the debate, asking that they Google his name during important moments.

On Facebook, Fiorina was the second-most talked about candidate, followed by Carson, Bush and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (R-Texas).

On Twitter, Trump dominated the plurality of conversation, followed by Bush, Fiorina, Cruz and Carson. But Fiorina gained the most followers on the platform (even though she still has substantially fewer than Trump).

According to Twitter, the most retweeted message of the debate came when Jeb Bush’s campaign tweeted “Sorry Mom” when he discussed smoking marijuana in his youth. 

Fiorina had the two most tweeted moments on the debate stage — when she responded to Trump about her looks and when she made impassioned comments against planned parenthood.