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Expand chart
Data: Sprout Social; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Bernie Sanders had the highest volume of Twitter mentions in the second round of the Democratic debates last week, and the debates generated 18% more tweets than the first round in June even though the TV audience was much smaller, according to data provided to Axios by Sprout Social.

Why it matters: Compared to the first round, last week's debates were heavier on disagreement and confrontation, allowing voters to see discrepancies in the candidates and how they responded to challenges in real time, a departure from rehearsed stump speeches.

By the numbers: 15 of the 19 candidates had more mentions during the second debate than the first. (Eric Swalwell dropped out of the race after the first debate, while Steve Bullock joined the stage for the second round.)

  • There were 1.97 million tweets about the candidates during the second round of debates vs. 1.67M in June.
  • Those tweets generated 1.49M interactions last week vs. 1.41M in June.

Winners:

  • Sanders was mentioned more than any other candidate during last week's debates.
  • His biggest moments were his impassioned defenses of Medicare for All, including responding to Rep. Tim Ryan's doubts about what is covered in the plan: "I do know it. I wrote the damn bill!"
  • Elizabeth Warren has been mentioned more than any other candidate in aggregate for the two debates.
  • Andrew Yang has been hanging around the bottom end of the top tier of candidates in polling, but he nearly doubled his mentions in last week's debate — 4th-most of any candidate.
  • Interest in Marianne Williamson on social media continues to outpace her polling by a big margin.

Losers:

  • Julián Castro, one of the risers in June's debates, was less visible and saw his mentions drop by a third.
  • Beto O'Rourke's numbers dipped from the previous debate, and his place in these rankings (11) lags well behind his polling (6, per Real Clear Politics).

Between the lines: Yang got more of his mentions from voters 18-24 (31%) than any other candidate, while Amy Klobuchar (36%) had the highest proportion from older tweeters (55+).

  • Yang had the highest proportion of his mentions come from men (71%), and Castro had the highest for women (53%).

Go deeper

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.