Can Facebook tell who you will vote for based on likes?

Steven Loeb · October 12, 2012 · Short URL:

Romneyites love Scream 4, buy Nike, play Call of Duty, and watch Degrassi

(Correction: To reflect the correct name for Optimal)

It’s a question that seems to get asked every four years: can you tell who someone is going to vote for simply by what they like?

I tend to think the answer to that question is no. It's as ridiculous a question to ask as when they poll voters on who they want to have a beer with. It's the most meaningless type of data, as if liking "Back to the Future" could possibly say anything about a person's political persuation.

But, hey, let's indulge ourselves anyway.

According to an infographic from Optimal, there are certain things that those searching for either of the candidates have in common. Optimal analyzed Facebook users who looked up the two presidential candidates and made notes of their other preferences, in areas including books, brands, celebrities and games.

So here is the info. Let's play a game to see if it pans out. I will score each category for accuracy. (I am an Obama voter, so I will be using myself as a baseline) 

Finding out that Democrats watch The Rachel Maddow Show may be the least surprising thing of all time. You mean they aren't tuning in every night to hear what Sean Hannity has to say?

Honestly, I'm more surprised that there were no Fox News shows listed under the Romney column, but that may be because Facebook is generally a younger person's game and Fox News... well, more than half of their audience was born when Eisenhower was still president. 

So far the info seems kind of correct. I don't watch any of the shows that people who search for Mitt Romney seem to like, but, then again, I only watch three of the shows that the Obama people watch. (I'm going to use this opportunity to give a shout out to Community. Come back to us soon!) But I guess I will give them this one.

Score: 1-0

I am going to be honest here: besides Miranda Lambert, I have not heard of any of the bands on the Romney side. Googling them I found that they are mostly newer bands. "But I thought Republicans only listened to country music! Where's Trace Adkins?" you Democrats out there might be saying. Well, maybe that will teach you to stop stereotyping! Now go back to listening to NPR while you read the New York Times!

Once again using myself as a baseline, since I barely listen to anyone on this list, I'm calling this one a draw.

The score still stands at 1-0.

Mahjong? Yahtzee? Bingo? When did all Democrats become my grandparents?

Romney kicks butt in this category, and so I'm counting this against Optimal. I'd much rather play Madden, Call of Duty or Gears of War than Solitaire. If all Democrats were this lame, I'd have to seriously consider switching parties.

Score: 1-1

Ah, here is where it gets really dicey. 

While Back to the Future is one of my all time favorite movies (so much so that just writing this is making me want to go put it once I finish writing this thing), I also love Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I also am a big fan of The Big Lebowski, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Office Space! So while the graph is right... it's also wrong! Oh no!

You know what? I'm giving this one both a positive and a negative. It's only fair.

The score now stands at 2-2

We're coming into the home stretch. Only two categories left to go!

Remember when I said that Democrats watching The Rachel Maddow Show "may be the least surprising thing of all time" (yes, I just quoted myself, from something I said in the same article). I take it back. Republicans love Reagan? You don't say! Democrats like Bill Maher? Fascinating stuff!

The only weird thing about this one: what's with Republicans and the Kardashian family? Kylie and Kendall Jenner? I know Republicans love rich people but come on! (I know I said to stop stereotyping, but it really is just too much fun!)

Since this list is incredibly accurate, point goes to Optimal.

Score: 3-2

Here we are. The final category. It all comes down to this.

And... I don't know what to say about this. I like Baskin Robbins. I also wear Nike shoes! I read Yahoo Sports and yet I enjoy a good Jolly Rancher every now and then! I think what Optimal is trying to tell me is that, deep down, I'm truly a moderate at heart. 

So since I am basing this on what I like, and what I like alone, I will call this one as another draw.

Optimal wins 3-2! I guess you really can tell how people will vote based only on their Facebook likes!

(No, you can't. You really, really can't.)

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