Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Social Media and Presidential Politics: 2012

Our inaugural post for this upcoming election year has to, inevitably, focus on today's Iowa caucuses.

Four years ago, The Nerfherder began a series of posts examining to what extent online social media could be a meaningful predictor of electoral outcomes. The results showed that it was, in fact, pretty poor at doing so. Read this post from just after 2008's Super Tuesday for primaries and caucuses and see just where things stood. In retrospect, it's quite fascinating.

We're going to research this question again over the next 10 months and see if we get the same results. But, oh my, how the cyber-times have changed since 2008. In that election cycle, we used as our metrics MySpace friends, Digg friends, Facebook fans, and Technorati blog posts. Isn't that quaint?

Obviously, some updating is in order. This time around we're going to keep track of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Twitter mentions, and occasionally even sprinkle in some Google+ fans.

So here we go. On this day of the Iowa caucuses, here's how things currently stand in online social media among the Republican presidential candidates...

Facebook fans:

Mitt Romney 1,259,515
Ron Paul 672,483
Michelle Bachmann 460,336
Newt Gingrich 223,558
Rick Perry 179,966
Rick Santorum 40,895
Jon Huntsman 30,622

Twitter followers:

Newt Gingrich 1,386,258
Mitt Romney 224,598
Ron Paul 151,899
Michele Bachmann 127,312
Rick Perry 112,272
Rick Santorum 57,520
Jon Huntsman 67,168

Twitter mentions in the past week:

Ron Paul 276,948
Mitt Romney 67,597
Rick Santorum 57,183
Newt Gingrich 46,087
Rick Perry 41,695
Michele Bachmann 16,798
Jon Huntsman 7,166


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