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Facebook Predicts Election

Since not everyone is a fan of Facebook DC (you should be), I thought I’d repost this release about FB fans being a great predictor for election results. This hits home as after having a recent conversation with the online campaign manager for Charlie Crist at a fundraising event about how they need to step up their social media use. He didn’t, and he lost.

The ability for social media participation and activity to predict election results has been widely discussed over the past several months as political campaigns across the country turned to Facebook to communicate authentically with voters as well as organize supporters. But are Facebook fan totals an indicator of how citizens will vote at the polls? Or are Facebook and other social services merely online popularity contests that have no correlation to the real world?

With most of Election Night’s races already decided, the Facebook political team took a look at whether Facebook “likes” did help predict the 2010 House and Senate winners.

The Data

More Fans Equals 74% Winning Percentage in Key House Races

Facebook tracked 98 of the most hotly contested House races, as decided by leading political observers, and 74 percent of the candidates with the most Facebook fans won their races:

· 69 candidates with the most Facebook fans won
· 24 candidates with the most Facebook fans lost

· 5 races are still too close to call

More Than 80% of Senate Wins Foreshadowed on Facebook

Just over 82 percent of the 34 Senate races that have been decided were won by the candidate with more Facebook fans:

· 28 candidates with the most Facebook fans won

· 6 candidates with the most Facebook fans lost

· 3 races are still too close to call

House Democrat Incumbents Lost on Facebook Before Losing on Election Day

So far, 46 House Democrat incumbents lost their seats yesterday. More than 78% of those incumbents had fewer Facebook fans than their challengers:

· 36 incumbent House Democrats who lost their seat had fewer fans then their Republican challenger

· 10 incumbent House Democrats who lost their seat had more fans than their Republican challenger

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

As of 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, 24 of the 34 Senate candidates whose races have been decided have not conceded on Facebook nor have they thanked their supporters on their Facebook pages.

A Tale of Two Races: Facebook Activity for the Winners & Losers

Florida 8th District

The vitriolic House race between incumbent Alan Grayson (D) and challenger Daniel Webster (R) was among the most closely watched races by national political pundits. Grayson’s Facebook presence dwarfed that of Webster’s by a factor of almost nine: 30,000+ fans to 4,600+ fans. But on Election Day, it was a different story. Webster won the seat and his supporters took to Facebook.

More than 500 Webster supporters posted congratulatory messages on his Facebook page in the last day with Webster thanking his supporters: “Tonight, I was privileged to accept the nomination to be your next Congressman. Thank you for all your support and hard work, and I look forward to representing you in Washington!”

Meanwhile, Alan Grayson has not posted any message to his Facebook supporters and more than half of the comments about his final post (a Tuesday morning get-out-the-vote message) were from individuals who support Webster and are reveling in their win. Grayson supporters have penned more than 200 Facebook wall posts in the past 12 hours.

Florida Senate

With the largest Facebook fan tally of any Senatorial candidate (132,000+), Marco Rubio (R) won a hotly contested three-candidate race defeating Kendrick Meek (D) and Gov. Charlie Crist (I). By 9:30 p.m. ET Tuesday night, Rubio posted: “Thank you everyone! We won the Florida U.S. Senate race.” By 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning, nearly 8,000 fans had already responded with comments or by liking Rubio’s victory wall post.

Meek has not posted a message to his supporters but a little over 100 have responded to his final post (a Tuesday afternoon get-out-the-vote message). In addition, Crist conceded at 10 p.m. ET last night on Facebook: “Thank you @TeamCrist for a great effort! Hope to see you soon. Congratulations to Marco Rubio and his team….” Crist has received responses from more than 600 supporters.

Stay updated on the changing political winds by “liking” our U.S. Politics on Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/uspolitics).

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Barry Everett

Very interesting data, but I’m not sure it qualifies FB as a ‘predictor’ as much as it reflects what we and all the Social Media folk have been saying for sometime: “Use every communication tool possible, if you want to get the word out to as many voters and possible.” The same thing almost applies to other ‘most’ categories: money, volunteers, lobbyists, attack ads, well you get the idea. Thanks for the post.

Chris Bennett

Thanks Barry. It’s a predictor in the sense that “74% of the candidates with the most Facebook fans won their races.” I agree that what it says more loudly is that every campaign not only should have a Facebook page, but treat it very seriously.