Last year was obviously an eventful one right from the onset, but the last few months of 2020 were certainly filled with some key moments that dominated online discourse. From major political events to highly anticipated game releases, nearly all of these trends wound up the subject of countless memes in the last quarter of the year.

So, what can learn about the relationship between these events and their impact on meme culture? To glean some knowledge into how real-world affairs affect memes and how people generally perceive them, KYM Insights conducted a series of polls through CivicScience between October 2020 and January 2021 based on this phenomenon.

We asked the internet how they reacted to memes they saw online based on the following categories: political memes, brand memes and video game memes. Of the thousands of respondents we received, here’s what we uncovered.

Political Memes

When it comes to memes, the political variants are easily among the most contentious (as we’ve studied in the past), but digging deeper into the events surrounding their perception reveals additional insight into how many online generally react to them over time.

Between October 4th and January 13th, our poll collected nearly 6,000 responses from participants. The biggest group by nearly double was, unsurprisingly, “Mostly Negative” in their reactions to seeing political memes, with just under 2,800 total. The “Mostly Positive” group came in second at nearly 1,600 responses, and last for “Neutral” at 1,559.

Moving on to the timeview graph for this category of memes, we see that the peak for “Mostly Negative” was right at the beginning of October, its lowest point in mid to late November and another high in late December before dropping down again in recent weeks. The lowest point for “Mostly Positive” bottoms out in early October with the peak coming right after the election in early November and another peak in mid to late November as the group…

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