This piece was originally published in the November 19, 2021 edition of CAP Action’s weekly newsletter, What’s Trending? Subscribe to What’s Trending? here.
From vaccine boosters to infrastructure, it’s been a big news week. Read on to learn how these topics and more are performing on political social media.
And in case you missed it, check out our latest edition of What’s Trending? here.
WHAT’S TRENDING THIS WEEK
- The Vaccination Rate: In just ten days, 10% of all kids ages 5–11–2.6 million total — have received their first vaccine shot. 71% of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated, 82% have received at least one dose, and millions are receiving booster shots.
- Infrastructure Week: Last week, the House passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal with a 228–206 vote and, on Monday, President Biden signed the legislation into law.
- Build Back Better: This morning, the House passed the Build Back Better Act! Be sure to tune in next week for an analysis of its impact on organic social media.
WHAT WE’RE HEARING ON SOCIAL
After several weeks of conservatives outperforming progressives in our ranking, progressives took six of the top 10 posts of the past week on Facebook. Led by a Veterans’ Day photo post by President Obama, other top performers included two memes about Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial and a statement post by President Biden about support for his Build Back Better Act.
Top posts from conservatives include a photo carousel celebrating Veterans’ Day from Arnold Schwarzenegger, a link post about Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial from Ben Shapiro, and a link post from Dan Bongino about Florida ports.
Over the last 30 days, COVID-19 vaccines have remained one of the highest-volume topics of conversation on political Facebook, with more than 85,000 posts in this period. News about the administration’s booster roll-out and conservative anti-mandate attacks have been at the forefront. Conservative governors in several states have aimed to prevent vaccine and mask mandates, and they continue to be one of the favorite talking points for many conservative pages. More recently, President Biden announced plans to increase spending on vaccines in the hopes of producing 1 billion vaccine doses per year.
Despite near-constant conversation from pundits regarding inflation, the topic did not garner nearly as many interactions over the past week as you might think, trailing vaccines and infrastructure by a significant margin.
On November 17, however, Representative Paul Gosar began trending due to the House’s censure of him for sharing a violent, threatening video involving his colleague Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While a censure may seem a symbolic gesture, the data shows that it sends an important message and can help shift the conversation online.
Climate conversation spiked considerably at the start of the COP26 summit in Glasgow earlier this month but tapered off quickly. As we’ve seen in the past with milestones like Earth Day, progressives can break through the noise on climate when major moments happen, but it’s tough to translate those events into sustained engagement.
Despite the Build Back Better Act’s potential to be the most significant climate investment in decades, the volume of interactions on Facebook for the topic continues to be relatively low.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, by contrast, saw multiple spikes upon its passage in Congress and President Biden’s recent signing of the bill, generating over 1.5 million interactions on both occasions, with half of the top ten posts coming from the Joe Biden or POTUS accounts. While there was some criticism of the policy from conservative pages, the tone was mostly positive. Time and time again, we have seen that the public responds most to legislation passing — let’s hope we can celebrate an even bigger win with the Senate passage of the Build Back Better Act soon.
Thanks for reading,
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This newsletter is written by me, Alex Witt (@alexandriajwitt), a progressive political staffer and Dolly Parton enthusiast (she/her), and CAP Action’s fantastic team of designers, data analysts, and email strategists.