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Which 2016 candidate has generated the most Facebook buzz?

Ahead of Thursday's Republican primary debate - the first of the 2016 cycle - Facebook released data on which candidates and topics are generating the most chatter on its social network.

The five most discussed political topics among U.S. Facebook users are, in order: "racial issues," Mexico, the economy, "LGBT issues," and immigration.

The social network has previously released data on how many Facebook interactions (posts, comments, likes, and shares) each candidate generated on the day they launched their campaign. The data released Thursday, however, reflected the total number of Facebook interactions each candidate has generated during their time in the race.

New poll illustrates state of 2016 campaign 06:31

The results actually track fairly closely with national polls in both parties. Among Republicans, real estate magnate Donald Trump was on top, generating 135,573,000 interactions from 26,243,000 unique people. And depending on how you measure it, second place went to either Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Bush generated 16,197,000 interactions from 5,339,000 people. Cruz actually generated more interactions than Bush did (16,628,000) but from fewer unique people (3,431,000). Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took fourth place, with 11,355,000 interactions from 3,132,000 people.

At the rear of the GOP pack was former New York Gov. George Pataki, with 412,000 interactions from 273,000 people. But Pataki can take heart in this, at least - Facebook did not release data on the Facebook buzz surrounding former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who launched a longshot bid last month, so it's possible Pataki may not be dead last.

Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the clear leader, generating 60,640,000 interactions from 11,799,000 people. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders placed second, falling far behind Clinton but actually generating the third most Facebook buzz of any candidate in the race, with 35,130,000 interactions from 5,476,000 people.

The saddest showing of any candidate came from former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat who's seeking the Democratic nomination. He generated only 330,000 interactions from 228,000 unique people, despite his electrifying call for the U.S. to switch to the metric system.

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