Numbers Monday: Bernie Sanders Leapfrogs to Top of 2016 Pack

For now, the Internet is all about Bernie.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., leaped to the top of the pack in terms of Internet buzz regarding a potential 2016 presidential bid after giving an interview with Salon.

He gave one interview flirting with 2016, but that was enough to bounce Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to the front of the 2016 pack in terms of online buzz, according to Monday's TrendPo ranking.

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On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Salon published an interview with Sanders about 2016 and what a certified socialist would bring to the table. The piece, entitled "Why I Might Run in 2016," quoted Sanders saying he might run so the issues he cares about get more attention. Mainly, he wants to represent the middle class. "I think being involved in debates and being out there around the country allows — gives you the opportunity to talk about these issues in a way that you otherwise could not," he said of seeking the highest office. Another newsworthy part of the piece was Sanders sounding wishy-washy about former secretary of State. "[B]ased on the kind of centrist positions that we have seen her take in the past...it remains to be seen whether she will be a forceful advocate for working families," Sanders said.

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That interview reverberated around the Internet so much that Sanders is now sitting pretty at No. 4 in TrendPo's ranking of political figures, higher than all other 2016 hopefuls. The list looks at presidents, members of congress, governors, mayors, state legislators and pundits with the top spots occupied by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and House Speaker John Boehner. Hillary Clinton is right on Sanders' heels, ranked at No. 5, Vice President Joe Biden is following her at No. 10 and Chris Christie, who remains the buzziest Republican, is at No. 11.

Online buzz, as it's measured by TrendPo, a D.C.-based political analytics startup, isn't equivalent to being ahead in the polls, it just shows that Sanders is getting more news mentions and attracting a greater following on social media than most of his political peers.

"The longer he does that, the longer he can solidify a true presidential run," explained TrendPo's J.D. Chang. "Whether or not he's a viable candidate will play out in the upcoming weeks and months."

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Turning to the other hopefuls, Biden recently got a birthday bump, attracting 1,122 new followers on Twitter on Nov. 20, the day he turned 71. That's an almost 250 percent increase from Biden's Twitter activity the day before. His overall following is now around 520,000.

Compared to the Twitter machine that is Hillary Clinton, however, Biden has a long way to go. The former chief diplomat gained 2,408 followers the same day. She's close to being able to boast one million followers. The takeaway? Even on his birthday the veep gets beat by Clinton.

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