Bernie Sanders Scores The Most Twitter Followers During The Democratic Debate As The "Bern" Gets Too Real

Once again, Twitter played an important part in public engagement during a key event. The fourth Democratic debate (the final one before the Iowa caucuses) saw social media alight, with a marked increase in followers for candidates as well as thousands of postings being issued. The candidate who gained the most Twitter followers during the debate was none other than Bernie Sanders, who beat out his fellow presidential hopefuls on the stage as well as all Republican candidates. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump made second place, while Ted Cruz gained the fifth-most followers Sunday night.

Sanders' exchange with Clinton about issues of economics as well as her potential ties to Wall Street proved to be the most heavily tweeted-about moment. The candidates butted heads about Dodd-Frank, and Clinton even questioned Sanders' loyalty to the president. Nonetheless, Sanders stated that he and Obama have successfully worked together without issue:

He and I are friends. We've worked together on many issues. We have some differences of opinion. But here is the issue, Secretary touched on it, can you really reform Wall Street when they are spending millions and millions of dollars on campaign contributions and when they are providing speaker fees to individuals?

Redirecting the question back to Clinton proved to be one of the most fiery moments during the debate, and Twitter was definitely feeling the Bern.

On the more humorous side, memes abounded for Sanders' brutal side eye, as well as his more animated moments. The debate marked a major shift in the candidates' behavior. All three have chosen to challenge each other, passionately calling each other out, as seen in the Wall Street exchange between Clinton and Sanders. Another fascinating online statistic to note is the fact that viewers across the country were eagerly searching for more information about Sanders. According to data from host network NBC News, Sanders was the hands-down most searched-for candidate of the three.

This marks the second debate this week in which Sanders received a stunning amount of followers. Despite not being in the GOP debate Thursday night, he nonetheless gained the second-most Twitter followers during the event, just behind Trump. Sanders crucially reminded audiences that he was rapidly gaining on Clinton in the polls, which seems to at least correlate with the amount of social media support he continues to receive. The heightened interest in Sanders, especially on Twitter, could prove further beneficial heading into the Iowa caucuses, set to take place Feb. 1.

Images: NBC News