The Trump Index
The Trump Index is a daily measure of former President Donald Trump’s media relevance, presented on a scale from 0 to 100. The index is calculated and presented by SocialFlow, based on our proprietary data. SocialFlow is able to track how many people click on news articles shared on social media. We see roughly 1 billion social media clicks per month. We’ve aggregated this data to see how interested news consumers are in Trump on a given day, and have converted that interest into a digestible point score.
Why Produce the Trump Index?
Former President Trump is no longer in office, but how he will wield his influence in the years ahead is one of the largest questions in U.S. politics.
At SocialFlow, we have long taken the position that Donald Trump’s influence was derived not simply from his Tweets, but from the media coverage of his Tweets. As the go-to social media publishing platform for many of the world’s most renowned media outlets, we are uniquely positioned to track consumer interest in Trump-related stories. It is presented in a non-partisan way.
How Is the Index Calculated?
We analyzed approximately 40 million social media posts made through the Socialflow platform between January 21, 2020, and January 20, 2021. This represents the one-year period leading up to the day then-President Trump left office. Those posts generated an aggregate of 372 million user clicks on stories that were either about Donald Trump, or that mentioned him in the headline and the text of the social post.
The distribution of daily clicks was modeled with a lognormal distribution and then binned so that a typical day would receive a 50 out of 100. The highest score (99) came after the Capitol Riots; the lowest score (8) came after the Super Tuesday election–a story dominated by Democrats because President Trump faced no primary challenge.
The “Partisan Lean” meter provides a state-specific perspective, based on whether a state’s electoral votes were cast for Donald Trump or Joe Biden, as certified by Congress and recorded by the U.S. National Archives. (Both Maine and Nebraska reported split electoral votes; for clarity, we assigned Maine as having voted for Joe Biden and Nebraska as having voted for Donald Trump).
The amount of Partisan Lean is calculated by looking at the difference between the expected versus the actual proportion of clicks from “Biden” states versus “Trump” states.
What Are Its Limitations?
- The Trump Index does not attempt to gauge sentiment. A click on a social media story that praises Donald Trump will carry the same weight as a click on a news story that is critical.
- The index does not account for differing state populations or electoral votes. It’s not adjusted per capita.
- Socialflow’s clients include thousands of media outlets with a wide range of coverage, political and otherwise. Some outlets are focused on local markets; others on national or even international populations. These differences are not accounted for in the Trump Index.
- The index is based on clicks on media stories, which generally correlates to the reading of a story. Social metrics (Likes, Shares, Retweets, etc.) are not included in the index.
Media And Research Inquiries
Media outlets wishing to cover the Trump Index should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret that we are not able to share data for research purposes.