Thursday, May 05, 2016

Results for the Presidential 'Facebook Primary'...

Now that Donald Trump is officially the presumptive Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton is basically, if not yet officially, the same on the Democratic side, it might be instructive to save, for posterity's sake, the results of Nate Silver's "Facebook Primary" data.

First, let's look at the Democratic campaign.  In terms of raw Facebook "likes", Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton nationwide by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.  Yet Hillary Clinton is currently leading Bernie Sanders in the popular vote by more than 3 million votes and a 56%-42% margin.

Number of raw Facebook "likes" for each candidate, by county (Sanders in purple, Clinton in green)...


Another interesting metric is which candidates perform best on Facebook by county relative to their national share of "likes".  In other words, this map shows each candidates' strongholds of support (Sanders in purple, Clinton in green)...


Next, let's look at the Republican campaign, where, in terms of raw Facebook "likes", Donald Trump has more than all other candidates combined (Trump in orange, Cruz in red, and no other candidate registers enough likes to be on the map)...


And, again, here's a map showing each candidates' strongholds of support (Trump in orange, Cruz in red, Kasich in purple)...


The million-dollar question, of course, is to what extent Facebook can be a predictor of electoral success.  Based on the numbers, it hasn't been a very good predictor in the Democratic race, but has been a good one in the Republican race.  That's a ratio of 1:2, or a 50% rate of accuracy.  You don't need to be a statistician to see how 50% accuracy in predicting elections essentially means that it's not accurate at all.