Obama v. Romney on the social media stage: the numbers

Faith Merino · August 14, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2949

New Pew report shows Obama is way ahead of Romney in social media use, but will it equate to votes?

A new report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism takes a look at how the Obama and Romney campaigns are utilizing social media to rally supporters and finds that the Obama campaign is posting nearly four times as much content as the Romney campaign and is active on nearly twice as many platforms.  Even more telling—the Obama campaign is generating more response from the public, with twice the number of shares, views, and comments on his posts.

In all, Pew researchers found that in the two weeks in which it scrutinized the two campaigns and their social media output, the Obama campaign published 614 posts while the Romney campaign published 168 posts.  Nowhere was the discrepancy more visible than Twitter, where the Obama camp averages 29 tweets a day while the Romney camp averages just one tweet per day.

In terms of content, Romney’s posts tend to focus more on the economy than Obama’s—24% to 19%, respectively—while Romney also devoted about twice the attention to jobs as Obama.  That said, however, Obama’s posts generated much more response from the public.  While his posts on the economy generated 361 shares or retweets, his posts on immigration generated more than four times as many shares, and his posts on women’s issues and veteran’s issues generated three times as many shares.

Additionally, Romney devoted about a third of his posts to attacks on Obama’s policies or actions—about twice as many posts as Obama devoted to attacking his opponent.  

Interestingly, Obama’s posts tended to rely more heavily on text—whether text alone or text with links—while Romney’s posts relied more heavily on visuals, such as pictures, graphics, and videos.

Obama is present on nine different platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Spotify, Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram—while Romney has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, and Spotify.

Obama’s investment in social media has paid off: today, he has more than 27.6 million Facebook friends, 207,000 YouTube subscribers, and over 18 million Twitter followers.  By comparison, Romney’s Facebook page has 4.2 million likes, he has 853,000 Twitter followers, and 14,200 YouTube subscribers.

But social media followers doesn’t necessarily translate to votes.  Howard Dean famously pioneered the use of social media and blogging back in 2004, but one crazy scream at a rally killed his presidential campaign for good.  So come November, we’ll see just how pivotal the use of social media has been to both campaigns.


Image source: telegraph.co.uk

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