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Who's winning the social media GOP debate?

Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Carly Fiorina take the stage in the Republican Presidential Debate November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Carly Fiorina take the stage in the Republican Presidential Debate November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We're living in the age of social media as a political platform.

After three debates in the Republican primary, voters and the media are beginning to see the differences between candidates and the importance of face-to-face meetings to decide who to support. We've found that the number of Twitter followers a candidate gains during the debate is a good indicator for how they'll do in the polls in the coming days.

Here's our live tracking for the eight candidates invited to the main stage for Fox Business' debate Tuesday night. It will update in real time during the two-hour debate. You can use this to predict who actually gained the most followers, and who is likely to rise in the polls.

Refresh the page during the debate to see the chart show the latest numbers.

We found this to be true after the CNBC debate last month. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were among the winners in our debate night tracking system. Indeed, they were among the big winners in the most recent polls.

It may sound simplistic, but it makes sense if you think about it. By tracking "follows" in real time, we're highlighting an action the public is taking. It's not quite voting for a candidate or endorsing them, but it's certainly opening oneself up to hearing their ideas in the future.

If a Twitter user likes the way Carson sounds on stage, they might hit "follow" on the social media site and tell a pollster they're considering supporting him.

A lot of social media analytics concentrate on things like mentions and interactions. But these methods lump the fawning and the derisive alike, while people are unlikely to follow someone out of spite.