Exclusive: Kamala Harris Draws Most Crowds Among Democratic Candidates, Data Firm Finds

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks at a rally, in Davenport, Iowa. Photo Credit: John Locher/AP/Shutterstock
August 26, 2019

If the election results were based on how many people attend a candidate's events, Kamala Harris would be the Democratic frontrunner.

Gravy Analytics, a location-based marketing technology company, analyzed the smartphone data of people who attended the 111 solo Democratic presidential candidate events held in June and July. (Gravy disqualified other official party events as well as rallies held for multiple candidates.)

The company analyzed data it received from 100,000 apps it partners with. Users opt in to the tracking via permissions given to the app and the company says it accounts for users who may be logged in to several of the apps at once. The results, which are anonymized and grouped for statistical purposes, were shared first with Cheddar.

"Whether it's a Democratic presidential candidate, whether it's a movie, or whether it's a new wine launching in Sonoma, we just believe a true interest level is gauged by people's time and commitment to attend things like events rather than interest online," said Gravy Analytics CEO Jeff White.

"It shows much more interest if someone goes to Joe Biden's speaking event versus reading an article online about him," he added.

Presidential campaign rallies have been an unofficial bellwether for popularity. President Barack Obama's events cemented his strong support among youth, while President Donald Trump's attendance showed his passionate following better than most polls predicted.

In terms of total attendance, Gravy Analytics found most people went to Harris' events, followed by Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Julián Castro. More than a quarter of the people who attended these events were between the ages of 18 to 34, and 56 percent were men. More than nine out of 10 people only went to one event.

Other interesting insights include:

  • Some candidates took the tactic of having lots of small events while others focused on a few large ones. In terms of average attendance at events, Booker had the highest mean. Harris, Kristin Gillibrand, Castro, and Jay Inslee rounded out the top five. It could give some insight into which candidates have the most consistent support.

  • People who attended Sanders events were more likely to attend Biden and Gillibrand events. Biden supporters were most likely to also go to Sanders events.

  • Those who went to Harris' gatherings were the most likely to go to events for the highest number of candidates including Gillibrand, Beto O'Rourke, Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Marianne Williamson, Amy Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren.

  • The youth vote seems to be going to Klobuchar, who had the most attendees between the ages of 18 and 24. Next up were Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang. The largest number of older voters (55 and above) went to O'Rourke events, followed by Booker and Warren.

  • People traveled the farthest for Tulsi Gabbard, Inslee, and Booker events. They stayed closest to home for Bullock, De Blasio, and Steyer rallies.

  • Job seekers were most likely to attend Castro, Yang, and Booker events.

  • Women who identified with a healthy lifestyle, meaning frequented the gym or visited nutrition stores often, were seen most at De Blasio, Klobuchar, and Williamson rallies. Men who held similar beliefs went to Gabbard, Steyer, and Klobuchar events the most.