If Facebook users decided the election, President Obama would be easily winning a second term in the White House. Meanwhile, heading into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, traffic on the social media website appears to indicate the GOP nomination coming down to a three-man race among Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.
This is according to an analysis and research of Facebook usage from Dec. 10 through Jan. 8 by Socialbakers, a social-media analytics company.
Among candidates, the president has more than 24 million Facebook “fans,” far more than that of his nearest rival, Mitt Romney, who has about 1.3 million. Texas Rep. Ron Paul has 672,483 fans; former House speaker Newt Gingrich has 223,558; Texas Gov. Rick Perry has nearly 180,000; former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has fewer than 41,000; and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman has only 30,622.
But Santorum, whose campaign surged to a near-tie in Iowa caucuses, increased his fan base by 107 percent, followed by Paul at 14 percent and Romney at 7 percent. Santorum leads the top three candidates in number of posts shared – six times more than Paul and five times more than Romney.
For Santorum and Paul, posts that include a link have the most number of interactions (“likes” and comments), followed by posts with photos. For Romney, status updates have the most number of interactions, followed by posts with photos.
The top three candidates have shared an average of 19 videos on Facebook, with Santorum leading with 36 video posts.
Santorum averaged an 11 percent monthly increase in fans, followed by Paul at 8 percent and Romney at 3 percent. Santorum more than tripled his “People Talking About” metric between November and December, while Paul nearly doubled his “People Talking About” during the same period.
Most Engaging Posts
Socialbakers looked at which single Facebook post was most engaging for the candidates.
For President Obama, that came December 15, in the form of a new family portrait. This picture of the first family generated nearly 87,000 “Likes” and almost 16,000 comments.
Romney’s most engaging post was published December 30: “This President spends a lot of time apologizing for America. He should be apologizing to America.” It generated 26,004 “Likes” and 2,620 comments.
Paul’s was his Christmas Day message: “Merry Christmas everyone. Wishing you the best with your family and loved ones today,” which generated 22,406 “Likes” and 2,969 comments.
For Gingrich, it came December 2. It was a message which read: “Two hours after I’m sworn in as President, and by the time Obama lands in Chicago, I will have forty percent of Obama’s government dismantled,” and includes a video link to a Gingrich interview by Sean Hannity of Fox News.
Santorum’s most engaging post was a December 13 reaction to the cancellation of a proposed GOP debate by Donald Trump. It generated just 822 “Likes” and 63 comments.
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.