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Sanders, Trump Lead Facebook Chatter Race Ahead of Primaries in Nevada and South Carolina

Top subject on Facebook in South Carolina: Pope Francis.

Salon.com

If you look to Facebook mentions as a barometer for national elections, you could expect a rout in today’s primaries.

Democrats go to polls today in Nevada, and Republicans do the same in South Carolina. Data released from the social network show that just hours before the voting, Facebook users overwhelmingly were discussing Sen. Bernie Sanders, the ascending Democratic candidate, and Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner and the party’s flamboyant id.

The data was collected from midnight on Friday eve to noon EST on Saturday. Some 69 percent of Facebook mentions in Nevada were of Sanders, with Hillary Clinton taking the remainder. Trump led GOP mentions in South Carolina with 56 percent, followed by Marco Rubio (22 percent), then Iowa primary victor Ted Cruz (17 percent).

One-time Republican favorite Jeb Bush only tacked on one percent of Facebook chatter.

Of course, chatter about a candidate does not indicate positive chatter or outright support. For instance, Trump appears to be leading in the issues that Facebookers noted most in South Carolina. “Amnesty for illegal immigrants,” a Trump stump issue, is the second-most-popular issue. But “racism and discrimination,” a thing Trump trades in, comes in at No. 4, and “Pope Francis,” the target of Trump’s diatribe of the week, is No. 1.

Top issues for Facebook users in Nevada were “government ethics,” “Citizen United and Super PACs” and “education.”

Facebook also shared candidate conversation from Nov. 10 to Feb. 18. Here’s Nevada:

And here’s South Carolina:

Update: Facebook chatter only gets you so far. As of 5:16pm EST, the Associated Press is calling the Nevada primary for Clinton.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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