|The proportion of types of political comments about the pandemic|
from sampled social media users. (One Country graphic)
Social-media analysis outfit Impact Social conducted the study, cataloging online social-media sentiment in six periods between March 15 and May 4. In late April, many social-media users criticized Trump for statements suggesting disinfectants and ultraviolet lights could treat covid-19. "Since then, Trump reduced the number of White House briefings and changed their format. The strategy seems to have changed the public social-media comments in rural parts of the six battleground states in the study," Marema reports. "But anti-Trump sentiment has been the largest category of political comment in every report since the study began in mid-March. This week, more than a third of political comments criticize how President Trump is handling the pandemic."
The study notes that the proportion of positive social-media comments about Trump also increased because his supporters remained active online while the overall number of pandemic-related rural social-media posts declined, Marema reports.