Sweet: Donald Trump tops Facebook conversation in Illinois

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in a hanger at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport on Monday in Vienna, Ohio. | Gene J. Puskar/AP

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When it comes to politics, what are we talking about in Illinois?

Illinoisans vote on Tuesday, and in the runup to the primary, the candidate who has been the main topic of conversation of Illinois Facebook users — according to exclusive data provided to the Chicago Sun-Times — has been GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

“In the last month, over 1.8 million people on Facebook in Illinois liked, posted about, commented on or shared content related to Donald Trump nearly 14 million times,” Facebook’s Andy Stone said.

That’s more Illinois interactions than Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton combined. About 797,000 Illinoisans were on Facebook looking for Clinton between Feb. 12 and March 13, and 733,000 for Sanders over the same period.

On the GOP side, Trump drew 1.8 million people; Ted Cruz, 322,000; Marco Rubio, 207,000; and John Kasich, 113,000.

OPINION

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When you look at all those interactions Stone talked about, you can see how the chatter was overwhelmingly about Trump: 13.6 million, with at Cruz, 1.7 million; Rubio, 805,000; Kasich, 346,000.

Clinton had about 6 million interactions to 4.5 million for Sanders.

User’s guide: The data is about Illinois Facebook users’ political conversation. It’s not the kind of data that can be used to predict the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.

The five top issues resonating on Facebook in Illinois are about race, Mexico, crime and criminal justice, gender equality, and education.

Trump has been consistently ahead in every Illinois poll. The latest surveys show Cruz moving up a bit. The Keep the Promise super PAC supporting him bought $40,000 of Facebook ads in Illinois over the weekend.

On Monday evening, Trump also was dominating Illinois searches on Google, according to a real-time Google Trends analysis, followed by Cruz. Kasich and Rubio were alternating between third and forth.

Sanders was consistently leading Clinton on Illinois Google searches.

Tweets by @lynnsweet

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