New York Times READ

Democrats Taking Serious Look at Bloomberg: He Leads Buttigieg in Word of Mouth Ranking

Published by Engagement Labs December 18, 2019

Fully 15.5% of Democrats Talked About Bloomberg Last Week, versus 4.9% Who Say they Will Vote for Him

Bloomberg’s Word of Mouth Engagement Exceeds His Share of Polling Preference by the Biggest Margin of Any Candidate

Booker Among Seven Most Talked about, Despite Missing Debate

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More than half of Democrats (54%) are talking weekly about the candidates seeking their votes in the 2020 primaries, according to a new study released today, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren leading the way, as they are in the national polls.

Importantly, however, the new study, by Engagement Labs, reveals that Michael Bloomberg is getting a serious look by Democratic voters just three weeks after entering the race based on the fact that his word of mouth engagement exceeds his share of polling preference by the biggest margin of any candidate. Fully 15.5% of Democratic voters talked about Bloomberg last week, versus 4.9% who say they will vote for him according to the Real Clear Politics Polling Average. 

The 10.6-point difference is the largest for any Democratic candidate, and his word of mouth engagement exceeds that of Pete Buttigieg, putting him in the top four. 

“These results reveal that Bloomberg has quickly earned his way into the top consideration set as reflected by his #4 ranking ahead of Mayor Pete,” according to Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs which conducted the study and one of the nation’s leading experts on word of mouth. “We have built many predictive analytics models that demonstrate word of mouth is a powerful and leading indicator of future decisions,” Mr. Keller added.  




Biden Is the Most Talked About Candidate

The study finds that a third of Democrats nationally talked with others in the past week about Biden, making him the most talked about Democratic candidate, followed by Bernie Sanders at 27% and Elizabeth Warren at 21%. This rank order is in line with national polls of Democrats’ preferences. Bloomberg (15%) and Buttigieg (13%) round out the top five most talked about candidates. Remaining candidates are being talked about by fewer than 10% of Democrats, although Booker’s word-of-mouth rank exceeds his polling rank and is in the word-of-mouth top seven, talked about by 6.8%, ahead of Amy Klobuchar at 4.7%, who qualified for the December 18th Democratic debate.


Conversation Sentiment Favors Sanders, Klobuchar, Buttigieg

When conversation sentiment is factored in, a more nuanced picture emerges. Rarely is conversation about any of the candidates negative, but for some it is strongly positive while for others the outright positive talk turns to a mix of positive and negative. More than two-thirds of conversations about Sanders are positive, the highest for any candidate. He is followed closely by Klobuchar (66% mostly positive) and Buttegieg (65%). When conversations containing both positive and negative aspects are included, these candidates’ conversations are 80-89% either purely or partly positive.

This is followed by a group of candidates with positive sentiment at close to 60%, including Warren (60%), Yang (56%), and Biden (55%). For Bloomberg, only 41% of the talk is positive, while almost as much as 37% is a mixture of positive and negative. 

“We often see that media is a driver of consumer word of mouth, and media awareness also drives more positive sentiment for brands,” says Keller. “The next month will be pivotal to see whether Bloomberg’s media-based strategy is successful in converting chatter into positive advocacy for his candidacy.” 



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Added Keller, “Corey Booker’s talk level also exceeds his polling rank. Understanding who Democrats are talking about is an important indicator of their deliberative process, and is a sign to the DNC that maybe a different way of determining who’s on the debate stage is in order.”   

This Democratic Nomination Word-of-Mouth study was conducted online among 1,956 registered Democrats between December 13 and 16, 2019 by Engagement Labs, using sample and data collection technology provided by Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform. Respondents reported on candidate conversations they participated in during the past seven days. 

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