President Barack Obama, former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and dozens of other world leaders made the trip to South Africa this week for the memorial service of Nelson Mandela. Besides the fake sign language interpreter standing by his side, President Obama made news for two specific incidents that occurred while he was in the crowd – the handshake and the selfie.
What do you, and others, think was a bigger deal? Here’s our exclusive information on what Americans thought.
Through exclusive data obtained by PsyID, a company which collects “actionable social media intelligence and analytics,” we are able to see what those on the left, right and center thought about each of the actions. The stats were obtained through looking at 50,000 individuals for each topic, with 70% acquired from Twitter and 30% from Facebook.
— The Wire (@TheWire) December 10, 2013
The results give some insight into what all Americans feel about the two actions. Let’s start with the right: as is to be expected, 89.3 percent of self-identified Republicans or non-affiliated right-leaning voters thought negatively about the handshake with Raul Castro. 78.7 percent had negative sentiment toward the picture with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
On the left – self-identified Democrats and those identified as left-leaning non-affiliated voters – opinions were mixed. 42.3 percent had a positive reaction to the handshake, pointing to it being a sign of diplomacy. 36.4 percent viewed it negatively, however, and 21.3 percent remained somewhat neutral. Of the selfie, more were positive, with 48.9 percent liking it, and just 14.8 percent who had something negative to say.
Then there was the truly independent. 42.9 percent had a positive view on the handshake with Castro, actually a slightly higher percentage than the left. But the negative percentage was higher too – at 47.4 percent. The independents were less inclined to support the selfie, with just 27.1 percent having a positive sentiment and 43.2 percent having negative things to say.
What does that tell us? The right had a problem with both, somewhat unsurprisingly, but more so with the handshake. And the left, to a lesser extent, agreed – more negative reaction to the handshake, and very little to the selfie. But the independents liked the handshake more, and had less positive sentiment about the selfie. We also saw that, no matter the party affiliation, people feel stronger about the handshake than the selfie – there was far more neutral stances about the picture than the moment with the Cuban leader.
What did you think of the handshake and the selfie?