Numbers Monday: Ted Cruz's 'Duck Dynasty' Defense Creates Facebook Surge

The Texas Republican had a good week on Facebook.

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Is Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, experiencing a pro-"Duck Dynasty" bounce? It would seem so, looking at his TrendPo numbers this week.

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On Dec. 19, Cruz posted "Free Speech Matters" to his Facebook page. 

"If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson," Cruz said of the reality show patriarch, who's in hot water for making controversial statements about homosexuality to GQ magazine.

[READ: Numbers Monday: Paul Ryan Wins the Week]

"Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job," Cruz continued, adding that "tolerance is a two-way street."

Cruz's post gave the tea party favorite a big bounce in online support. According to TrendPo, the D.C.-based political analytics startup, Cruz's page gained 3,518 likes on Thursday, the day he came to the defense of Robertson -- up 366 percent from the previous day. By Saturday, in TrendPo's snapshot, Cruz was being discussed by the greater Facebook community 214,692 times.

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As of Monday, Cruz's "Duck Dynasty" post had received more than 580,000 likes.

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The Facebook momentum has kept Cruz near the top of the Republican hopefuls, but he's still being bested by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in terms of online buzz, a TrendPo measurement that looks at social media growth and mentions in local and national media. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is beating Cruz on buzz as well.

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