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Social Media Predictions for the 2012 Election

The Presidential election of 2008 has been dubbed by some as being “the Facebook election” – and as more and more political candidates pick up fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter, campaign consultants are predicting that social media will drastically change the way elections are determined – from the presidential race to local elections. In fact, it has been noted recently that many candidates’ campaigns are making bigger investments into marketing via social media outlets, and it is estimated that today, approximately 25 percent of campaign dollars are being spent on online marketing strategy alone.

The Power of Fans and Followers

Facebook has emerged as a key platform for political candidates due to its sheer number of users. The numbers show that 60 percent of all adults in the U.S. are on Facebook – making the site an easy platform from which to send messages from candidates, to post advertising, and even to solicit donations – in a friendly sort of way.

The Facebook website is also a unique place – even in terms of other types of social media outlets – in that it has a very diverse demographic user base. This includes a mix of ages, income levels, and even race.

Social media has also changed the way that debates are being held, largely due to the time factor. This means that these websites are essentially forcing debates and campaigns to be managed in real time. For example, no longer are viewers forced to watch long, drawn out television debates. Today, these events can be monitored online with media comments and even winner predictions being discussed on the internet – oftentimes even before the actual debate is over.

And the Numbers Show…

As of spring 2011, predictions were already being made as to who would be the GOP candidate running against the current president – and this, too, is in large part being done based on how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers each candidate has built up.

Potential Candidate Twitter Followers Facebook Fans
Fred Karger 332 1,053
Michelle Bachmann 39,891 115,905
Haley Barbour 13,406 17,756
Scott Brown 29,636 11,386
Jeb Bush 11,421 5,072
Chris Christie 2,611 9,961
Mitch Daniels 2,466 45,930
Newt Gingrich 1,313,949 120,411
Mike Huckabee 141,849 557,804
Sarah Palin 470,849 2,856,989
Ron Paul 38,637 316,655
Tim Pawlenty 28,980 81,455
Mitt Romney 31,529 835,893
Donald Trump 462,094 205,199


Yet, although having fans and followers in the high six figure range – or more – is impressive, these folks may have a long way to go to in order to keep up with Barak Obama, because as of early 2011, the President was already estimated to have roughly 7 million followers on Twitter and almost 19 million Facebook fans.

In any case, having such large numbers of individuals at each candidates disposal makes it much easier than in years gone by to get messages out quickly, conveniently, and on a very regular basis. In anticipation for the upcoming presidential election, Facebook has created a new page that will carry updated campaign information that can be viewed at:

Frank Anderson is a social media and technology writer. He also works with virtual web hosting systems and technological advancements.

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