The US presidential race will be decided on Tuesday 6th of November 2012 when either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will be handed the keys to the White House for the next four years. At present, the race is too close to call and opinion polls have them neck and neck. So what if we flip it on its head and use social media to find out who the next President could and should be…
A good base is the current opinion polls, which, as of November 1st have Romney and Obama tied neck and neck on 47.4%.
When we open this up to all the candidates we see that it is in fact a six way race with Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Gary Johnson the Libertarian party candidate and finally Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.
The race then looks something like this:
So, we see at present, come November 6th Obama may well be leaving a key under the mat for Romney to take office.
However, does social media, the world’s biggest sounding board, echo what the opinion polls say?
If we look at sheer numbers much like an opinion poll we see some interesting results…
Twitter shows Barack Obama running away with the presidential race with well over 90% of the total follows for all presidential candidates. Romney is a distant second with 6.8%, and the best of the rest is Gary Johnson with 0.004% of the Twitter vote.
It is very interesting to note that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein’s relative popularity in the opinion polls is reflected here on social media with both sitting respectively in third and fourth. However, the biggest conclusion we can draw is that if the presidential race was a numbers game – Obama is your 2012 Twitter leader.
When we take it to Facebook and look at the numbers once more we see more of the same. Obama is dominant both in terms of the share of likes and total number. He holds 74% of the Facebook vote compared to Romney’s comparatively small 25.1%. We see here that while the race is slightly closer, Obama is still taking a 20 million plus majority into his second term in office.
In a second nod to the numbers game of social media, we again see that candidates three and four, Johnson and Goode (respectively), enjoy an identical position on Facebook in terms of share of Twitter. They both once again sit someway behind Romney in the race for the White House.
In terms of sheer comments and likes in the past 30 days we see Facebook reflecting the tightness of the presidential race. Obama has received 890,050 comments and 12,438,226 likes which puts him in second place (just) behind Romney with 948,092 comments and 12,805,821 likes. Romney has, however, been more active than Obama and posted an extra 23 times. This, perhaps, suggests Obama has a better like and comment to post ratio and a more active fan base. However, with 20m+ extra likes perhaps that is to be expected. These Facebook figures show that Romney is fighting Obama every inch of the way in the social space as much as he is on the campaign trail.
However, we all want a president who listens to the wants and needs of his people don’t we? Well how do our potential candidates fare when we look at how much they actually engage and listen to their people?
Let’s find out…
When we look at our six candidates, the first thing that you can’t help but notice is that neither Obama nor Romney have replied to any of their Twitter followers in the last 30 days. The outright leader here is Rocky Anderson with a phenomenal 39.4% of his Tweets being in reply to his Twitter followers. In second and third we have Gary Johnson and Jill Stein with a healthy 12.8% and 8.5%. Unfortunately, Virgil Goode has posted less than 16 times and is therefore ineligible for analysis which is reflected in his 0% share of the actual poll vote.
When it comes to mentions it’s Romney in the lead with 15.7% compared to his closest rival Jill Stein with 11.5%. The current president sits a lowly joint last on 3.6% when we look at this particular engagement factor.
On retweets it’s Rocky Anderson again leading the way and by quite some distance with 32.6%. His nearest rival Obama sits just over halfway behind him with 18.1% of his tweets consisting of retweets. The biggest loser here is Mitt Romney who’s level in the polls but has a lowly 0.6% retweet rate, 30x behind the man he’s looking to replace in the White House.
On Twitter – Better take down the red and blue sash’s and get out the Red&Blue ones. Rocky is your next president.
The current president underperforms in terms of interaction and is clearly the least engaging of the six candidates on the world’s biggest social network. Obama scores a lowly 6.08 on Conversocial’s average IPM scale. The runaway leader is Virgil Goode with a massive 86.64, 14 times that of Obama. The other candidates form a tightly packed group with Rocky Anderson edging Jill Stein on 16.27 and 15.99. Romney and Gary Johnson bring up the rear with 11.15.
The presidential race on Facebook engagement has Virgil Goode standing on the lawn of the White House almost unopposed.
When we look at the two networks together it’s a close content between Goode and Anderson which we’d have to give to Anderson (just) for his dominant Twitter performance and 2nd placing in the Facebook engagement rankings.
What does this all mean?
We see that looking at volume of people; the polls and the two biggest social networks align, but only to a point. They both have Obama in runaway positions which isn’t reflected in the opinion polls. However, we do see that Obama and Romney are clearly in a league of their own when we look at audience size and quite frankly in a race of their own.
When we look a little deeper and scratch beneath the surface we see the smaller candidates really shine. All of the smaller parties outperform the Republican and Democratic candidates significantly when it comes to listening to their audiences and responding. As a fan this makes you feel more valued and that your potential government is listening to you.
Interestingly, Romney tops neither the engagement nor numbers on Twitter or Facebook which puts him behind Obama in the social space. If the presidential race was voted for on November 6th it would be shots of Obama and Rocky Anderson panning back and forth as we watched the votes come in.
If you believe the numbers its Obama’s 2nd term for sure. If you want an interactive and listening president it’s Rocky Anderson on the November 6th.
It’s up to you… But over the next two days you can follow the impact of social media on the election race over at CrisisVu (www.CrisisVu.com ), the newly launched social monitoring service that is hosting a second-by-second visualisation or ‘Vu’ of the race as it plays out live on Twitter. With over 140 million users in the US, will Twitter prove to be the ultimate exit poll?
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