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 John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative 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.

She was the second most-searched candidate, followed by Bush, Ben Carson and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China 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 CruzIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? GOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 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.