WASHINGTON- Campaign front runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren't just leading in the polls in Virginia, they're also swamping their competition in online engagement on Facebook, according to data the company provided exclusively with WUSA9.
MORE: Virginia Voter Guide
Trump, whose lightning rod candidacy has been credited with boosting Republican turnout and fueling Democratic opposition was the most talked-about candidate in either party, with more than 800,000 Virginians posting, liking or commenting on comment featuring him.
Facebook users interacted with that content nearly 5.5 million times in the 30 days leading up to Super Tuesday. Ted Cruz held the next largest share of the conversation, with 263,000 people discussing the Texas senator in the Old Dominion.
Facebook's data on what issues are being discussed by its users shows the large interest in Trump may not all be positive. "Christianity" was the issue with the most resonance in Virginia leading up to Super Tuesday - an interesting topic in a month when Trump publicly feuded with Pope Francis and just after Trump flubbed the name of the new testament book 2 Corinthians, normally read "Second Corinthians." The third, fourth and fifth issues Facebook data shows resonating in Virginia all appear as normal parts of Trump's stump speech, or in analysis of his rallies: Racism & Discrimination, Homeland Security and Islam & Muslims round out the list.
Similarly, Hillary Clinton, who leads the Democratic Facebook zeitgeist, with 485,000 unique people discussing her in Virginia, may not be happy with the topic drawing the most attention.
The second most-discussed issue on Facebook in Virginia in the last month was the State Department email controversy, which has dogged Clinton's campaign for months, and appears to show no sign of permanently going away. Befitting Virginia's status as a general election bellwether state, the Commonwealth's numbers mirror those Facebook has tracked of the candidate's share of the discussion on its service nationally. Facebook notes that their data is meant to be reflective of the political conversation happening online, not predictive of any outcome