In an election year that seems to be filled with more drama, public health crises, protests, natural disasters, scandals, and gaffes than ever before, everyone is on the edge of their seats to find out who will become the next US president.

But with a first presidential debate that was so difficult to watch, even Pence’s fly didn’t want any part of it/had better things to do, it was hard to pinpoint any … ehummm clear policy stances. 

That’s why we decided to take a closer look at which issues the public, the media, and the candidates themselves are talking about most. 

To do this, we teamed up with audience intelligence platform, Pulsar. Using their social listening technology, they pulled data on the top issues being discussed from Sept. 8th – Oct. 1st in relation to the presidential candidates across different platforms including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, forums, and more. 

Here’s what we learned:

Trump is better at steering the conversation towards his key issue areas

Of course, as we all know, Twitter has been Trump’s weapon of choice for many years now, even before he became president. He’s taken to his account to voice his opinions on everything from dating advice for Robert Pattinson to his speculations on Obama’s place of birth. 

And the same goes for his stance on policy issues. Interestingly, what we can see from the data is that Trump really uses his social media to drive the focus on a small group of key issues, namely foreign policy, crime, and Covid-19. 

Meanwhile topics such as climate change, LGBT, and racism were either not mentioned at all, or just lightly touched upon.

We can see that Biden’s strategy contrasts significantly. Although the candidate’s top focus during this period was on healthcare, unlike Trump, he spread his posts more evenly across the different issue areas. Also, unlike his rival, Biden addressed more progressive topics like climate change and LGBT rights on his social accounts. At the same time, voter fraud and the second amendment didn’t receive coverage.

This sharp contrast in strategy is perhaps revealing of the different audiences both candidates have supporting them. 

As a recent poll by Pew Research Center found, while political support for Biden has increased and even surpassed Trump in the last months, only a little over half are strong supporters. This could be a reason why Biden has chosen to avoid strongly favoring certain issue areas over others. 

Meanwhile Trump, who has a larger base of strong supporters, focuses on driving the key issues his base cares about. 

But is this a good strategy? The beginning of November will tell, but by continuing to pander to his base, Trump doesn’t seem to be winning over those who are still on the fence about supporting him.