It is very early in the Democratic Primary race (the first state primaries are still nearly a year away) but two lesser-known candidates have burst onto the scene in recent weeks, from relative obscurity: Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
We collected data from Twitter and Oddschecker to chronicle their rise:
Andrew Yang's Twitter followers have more than doubled in the past month
Yang's campaign strategy ("podcasts and memes") is continuing to bear fruit, as his Twitter following has steadily grown and recently eclipsed 200,000 followers.
While Pete Buttigieg's have more than tripled
The meteoric rise of "Mayor Pete" can be traced back to a CNN town hall on March 10th: his follower growth picked up drastically after the event, and hasn't shown signs of slowing down.
The explosion in Yang and Buttigieg's Twitter followings has coincided with an increase in their odds in betting markets
Over the past few weeks, Yang and Buttigieg have started to make some noise in betting markets. Their odds of winning the Democratic nomination have each jumped from about 1%1 (Buttigieg wasn't even listed at all until mid-February) to over 5%.
This jump puts them ahead of candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker
While this bump may look more like a blip in the chart below, betting markets now rank Buttigieg and Yang 5th and 6th, respectively, in the Democratic field, ahead of clearly-legitimate candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.
Time will tell if the betting markets are reflective of reality
It is often said that "Twitter is not real life," and surely betting markets aren't either. They are an output based on closer-to-real-life inputs, like polls, and media coverage. Indeed, most polls show Yang and Buttigieg receiving 1% or fewer of the vote, hardly an indicator of a real chance at receiving the nomination.
Still, there is an argument to be made that markets can be a leading indicator of performance. Sure enough, a Quinnipiac poll released this morning showed Buttigieg polling at 4% nationally, easily his strongest result yet. His odds jumped further.
ReadyPipe users can use the Github Gist below to collect this data themselves. ReadyPipe is an all-in-one platform to run your web scrapers: just write the logic and it handles everything else. It is used by everyone from 3-person companies to 3,000-person companies: you can request ReadyPipe access here.
Footnotes1. We convert the fractional odds given on the site to percentage odds (e.g. 4/3 -> 1/(1+4/3) -> 43%. We then normalize these odds to sum to 95% (leaving 5% for the rest of the field). ↩
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