There was an interesting post today by US Politics on Facebook (see below) about how Facebook fan counts were good predictors of 4 out of 5 Senate races and 3 out of 4 House races. Intuitively this makes sense, but I wondered how it held up in some of the really close and heated races. Here’s what I found…
In the California Governors race Meg Whitman crushed Jerry Brown on Facebook and lost big in the election. Ditto for Sharon Angle, she had 108,740 fans to Harry Reid’s paltry 15,462 and she lost. Even stranger, Lisa Murkowski, who lost in the primary, was a write in candidate (which is traditionally a guaranteed loss), appears to have won and she had half the number of Facebook fans. Go figure on that one. Facebook fan figures would have indicated landslides in all of these races.
There were other hot races where Facebook was a good predictor such as Scott v Sink in Florida, Rubio v Crist v Meek in Florida, and Boxer v Fiorina in California.
Twitter and Youtube views had similar patterns. In “normal” races the followers and views seem to be a good predictor of the results. But if the race has unusual candidates or if it is very close, toss that formula out the window.
One reason I suspect the stats may fall apart is that fans are fans and many will stay loyal no matter what happens. In many of these races some of the candidates exhibit outright bizarre behavior. I suspect many stayed loyal and others may not have bothered to “un-follow” on Twitter or “”un-like” on Facebook which would explain the numbers. Once someone “likes” a page it is a pain to go back and “un-like” it because it is in tiny print at the bottom of the Page and you have to find it first – part of the Facebook Zuckering strategy, change is hard.
So here’s my take on this. In a “normal” race (if there is such a thing in today’s politics) Facebook and social media trends are a good predictor. The big take away here is that a candidate can screw up a great social media campaign with missteps in the traditional media. Also a great social media campaign can be beat by a highly effective old school grass roots campaign.
Facebook post by US Politics on Facebook – 74% of House candidates with the most Facebook fans won their race and 81% of Senate Candidates with most Facebook fans won their race.
Here’s some interesting data on some of the hot races.
It is interesting how it is all over the map. Also note how some were behind on Facebook and way ahead on YouTube or Twitter.
|W/L||Candidate||Facebook Fans||Twitter Followers||YouTube Views|
California Governor’s Race
|W||Jerry Brown||98,984||1,100,473||1.2 million|
California Senate Race
|L||Carly Fiorina||22,845||23,917||1.1 million|
Nevada Senate Race
|L||Sharon Angle||108,740||8,531||1.4 million|
Florida Senate Race
|W||Marco Rubio||135,249||18,539||1.2 million|
Florida Governor Race
Alaska Senate Race
Still not officially called as of this post