Blend, a group chat app, has recently analysed 250,000 of its users conversations around the US election – to see which emojis are associated with each hopeful nominee.

As English applicants might be familiar, an emoji was listed as Oxford Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ last year, and as a rising form of communication between 18-24 year olds, emojis are a subject of analysis for serious Linguists. The association of emojis with Presidential candidates is so strong that the emojis used across the 250,000 users indicates some very clear associations between the candidates and what the voting public think of them.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are primarily associated with the same emoji – the money bag (💰). Clinton’s recent defensiveness over her alignment with a Super PAC could explain the association, while Trump’s claim of a self-funded campaign perhaps more easily explains why the emoji comes up in discussions centring on his campaign. Economics applicants should investigate how campaign funding in the US influences the election, especially in comparison to the UK parliamentary system which sees campaign funding severely restricted.

Hillary Clinton also has the association with the high heeled shoe and woman with a tiara (👸 👠) – showing that gender is very much a part of the election race. HSPS applicants might want to consider how successful or not Clinton’s campaign has been in achieving the votes of women, in comparison to contender Bernie Sanders.

Finally, Computer Science applicants might like to consider the efficacy of this group-chat analysis – does a count of emoji use signify that these are the most popular associations of each president? Or could it not be that the money bag symbol has no similar counterpart, whereas perhaps a smiling face has several variations which could signify a greater, if more diverse, association?

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