Facebook fans decide Election Day victories

Ronny Kerr · November 3, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1353

Facebook says the majority of candidates who won House and Senate seats also had more Facebook fans

U.S. Politics on FacebookAs it turns out, social media is actually a pretty good indicator of who will win in an election, according to fresh data from U.S Politics on Facebook.

Analyzing results from “98 of the most hotly contested House races,” Facebook found that 74 percent of candidates with more fans than the competition ended up winning the actual election. In 82% of the Senate races that have been decided, candidates with more fans on Facebook won.  

In the House, 69 candidates with the most Facebook fans won, versus 24 candidates who had more fans but lost. In the Senate, 28 candidates with more fans won, while six candidates lost in spite of their popularity.

We ran a piece yesterday predicting who would win the two biggest elections in California--for governor and senator--based on how many Twitter followers each candidate had. Democrat Jerry Brown (with 1.1 million followers) readily defeated former eBay CEO and Republican candidate Meg Whitman (with around 250,000 followers) for the position of governor.

On the other hand, Democrat and incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer (with only around 25,000 followers) still managed to beat former HP CEO and Republican Carly Fiorina (with 300,000 followers).

It would be interesting to see how candidates across the country fare in terms of followers because both Twitter and Facebook only managed to predict one of the two California elections--for governor or senator--correctly. Weirdly enough, they each predicted the opposite one.

On Facebook, Whitman had over 200,000 fans, double Brown’s 100,000. Fiorina had just over 20,000 fans, half of Boxer’s 40,000. Brown won the governorship with more Twitter followers but less Facebook fans, while Boxer retained her Senate position with less Twitter followers but more Facebook fans.

There are obviously many factors we’re missing here to make a complete analysis (what were the statistics in other states? how actively did the candidates use their accounts? etc.), but this is just the beginning. Social media sites have only been actively used for a couple elections now and it’s already abundantly clear that they will continue to

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Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

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