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How the 2016 presidential candidates measure up on social media

Social media is an increasingly crucial part of campaigning for president. Here's how this year's candidates stack up.


Donald Trump would be the first to tell you that he's this election cycle's King of Twitter, but he's far from the first to take to the Internet in the name of generating political momentum.

Social media platforms have become the online soap box for anyone seeking to win the presidency, and some candidates find more of a following than others. With voters in New Hampshire set to cast their ballots, here's a look at how successfully the major contenders of each party have gotten their messages out across various platforms.

As the elections continue, we'll be updating these numbers as they rise and fall, so bookmark this page.

Editors' Note: All figures current as of February 8, 2016.

Trump is tops on both platforms, but Clinton and Carson spike up on Twitter and Facebook, respectively.

Ry Crist/CNET

Twitter and Facebook

Real estate mogul and Republican candidate Donald Trump sits atop both the Twitter and Facebook leaderboards as the only candidate from either party who can claim more than 5 million followers and more than 5 million likes.

Former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton surpasses 5 million Twitter followers, too. She's followed by Senators Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Republican and former Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Republican neurosurgeon Ben Carson, all of whom have over 1 million followers.

Rounding out the field of candidates are four Republicans (in order): New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

On Facebook, it's Carson who sits in second behind Trump as the only other candidate to boast more than 5 million likes. Next up are the two Democratic candidates, Sanders and Clinton -- each with about 2.5 million likes to their name. Cruz and Rubio are the only other candidates that can claim more than 1 million likes.

The same bottom four on Twitter vie for placement on Facebook as well, but this time, it's Christie bringing up the rear.

Trump has the biggest Instagram following, but Sanders has more YouTube subscribers.

Kelly Nelson/CNET

YouTube and Instagram

YouTube has seen its share of campaign ads and announcements, and most campaigns have a verified channel for supporters to subscribe to. Sanders has more subscribers than anyone else, with 92,420. That number goes up dramatically if you include the separate Sanders campaign channel, which is also verified -- it boasts another 80,019 subscribers.

Trump comes in at second with less than half of Sanders' subscriber count. Right behind him: Clinton, Cruz, Carson and Rubio (though it's worth noting that Cruz's channel is not verified). Fiorina, Christie and Kasich round out the bottom, with none of them having more than 5,000 followers -- Bush also sits just under that number.

Of the candidates who have verified Instagram accounts (former Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina does not), Trump is back at number one, with just under 1 million followers. Clinton and Sanders come in at second and third, respectively, followed by a significant drop-off before Carson and Cruz at spots four and five.

Ry Crist/CNET

Oh, Hillary Clinton sure loves Snapchat.

Hillary Clinton/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET


Snapchat doesn't release information on how actively its users use the network, and snaps disappear from the platform after twenty-four hours, so all we have is a look at who does and does not have an account.

Most candidates have used the service and its geotagging capabilities to try and connect with potential voters (Clinton being probably the most vocal about her love of the platform) but two of the remaining candidates -- Bush and Fiorina -- have not.

No one comes close to Bernie Sanders' following on Reddit.

Ry Crist/CNET


Campaigns can't host official subreddits on Reddit -- but their supporters can. All remaining major candidates have at least one subreddit dedicated to news and discussion about them. Some -- namely Sanders, Trump, Clinton, Cruz and Rubio -- have supporter-minded subreddits designed to rally the site's users to the cause or even raise money through donations.

Judging from the subscriber counts of those subreddits, it's fair to say that Reddit feels the Bern, as the Vermont senator's subreddit boasts a staggering 176,815 subscribers. That's almost 20 times as many subscribers as Donald Trump's subreddit, which comes in second.

Other candidate subreddits are less of a community for supporters and more a mix of positive, negative and neutral posts. Some are barely active. Jeb Bush's subreddit has seen just 5 posts in the last two months, while Carly Fiorina's has a total of only 15 posts since it was created less than a year ago.

As said earlier, we'll keep tracking the candidates across all platforms and update this post as the Presidential race continues.