Political talk on Facebook centers on religion heading into GOP debate

Political talk on Facebook centers on religion heading into GOP debate

Religion is once again the most talked-about political topic on Facebook heading into Thursday's Republican presidential debate.

In the month from Dec. 13 through Jan. 12, religion was the most-discussed topic on the social media platform, according to data provided by the company. The same was true before the most recent GOP debate, held in December.


Religion was followed by the violence in the Middle East — including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — the economy, homeland security and guns. Economic issues replaced immigration, which was on December’s list.

Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE injected religion into the presidential race with calls for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the United States, prompting rebukes from both the left and the right.

Though he did not mention Trump by name, President Obama attacked politicians in his State of the Union address Tuesday for their aggressive rhetoric about Islam.

“When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer,” he said. “That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong.”

Trump remains the most talked-about candidate on Facebook by a wide margin. Almost 19 million people generated 105,140,000 interactions — a mix shares, comments, likes and posts — about the candidate in the month leading up to Tuesday. That's a decrease from the period leading up to December’s debate, when 23.3 million people generated 115,930,000 interactions about Trump.

The data does not indicate whether the mentions of Trump and other candidates were positive, negative or neutral in tone.