Every presidential election stirs up strong emotions in American voters, but the types of emotions are not always uniform. This is especially prominent in the 2016 election, which seems to feature particularly polarizing, and unlikable, candidates on both sides of the ticket.
But the deeper question is less about the overall positive or negative sentiment among the electorate, but about the specific emotions and tone associated with the candidates. Do voters feel sad about their options in the election? Angry? Disgusted?
Using Crimson Hexagon’s Sentiment Analysis, we were able to discover that, overwhelmingly, voters and news outlets express fear when they talk about the candidates, especially Donald Trump. Indeed, social posts classified as “fear” were more than 3x as common for Trump and 2x as common for Clinton than for either of the candidates in 2012.
The extremity of this finding makes it clear that the conversation surrounding the 2016 election dominated by fear. And it’s not just the general population that expresses fear, it’s the media itself.
When we analyzed social posts about Trump from the major news outlets, we found a similar story: fear is, by a wide margin, the most commonly expressed emotion.