Ron Paul Surges on Facebook, Twitter as Caucus Nears

Ron Paul Surges on Facebook, Twitter as Caucus Nears

Ron Paul is gaining steam through Facebook and Twitter, as political experts use social media to track potential voter outcomes on the eve of the Republican caucus in Iowa.

Social media analytics are revealing some last-minute trends just one day before the first presidential caucus of the 2012 campaign year. For example, Socialbakers tracked the seven Republican candidates on their Facebook performance up until the end of December, finding Ron Paul is the most “viral” candidate, with nearly 60,000 people talking about him on Facebook last week.

The designation was determined by taking the number of “likes” and comments, multiplied by the average number of friends per Facebook user.

Additionally, Qorvis Communications released its monthly Twitter Valuation Analysis for the 2012 presidential campaign and its final snapshot mirrors recent traditional polling, which indicates a tight race between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, with former senator Rick Santorum gaining momentum.

Qorvis’ report showed Congressman Ron Paul’s followers increased by just over 30 percent in December, growing by more than 20 percent for the fourth month in a row. Santorum’s following increased by nearly 25 percent, and former governor Romney came in third for the month, adding 20 percent to his Twitter flock.

To determine how effectively the field is using their new digital apparatus to advance their candidacy, another report from consultancy Sociagility suggests Ron Paul has the edge with social and online media. Paul won out with his campaign website and YouTube channel, but Newt Gingrich is surging, scoring points for social media presence.

Sociagility analyzed the popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach and trust of candidates across different social media channels using its specific methodology, which is normally applied to commercial brands.

Sociagility’s report gauges popularity from fans, followers and views; receptiveness from links, friends and posts; interaction determined from shares, comments and references; network reach defined by audience reach and subscribers; and trust measured by influence, authority and rating. The analytics firm also claims a close correlation between its rankings and voting intentions, which if correct, could make this upcoming primary season the first “social primary.”

Socialbakers’ report has President Obama, who has the largest number of Facebook fans at 24 million, leading with 50 percent of the total interactions tracked. Romney is second to Obama in Facebook fans with 1.3 million.

Regardless of how closely the social media predicts tomorrow’s voting outcomes, the campaigns themselves realize the value of a social media strategy in this age of the “social primary” and are already using the technology to attract supporters and organize campaign initiatives.

The bigger, predictive role social media may play in campaigns will likely depend on tomorrow’s caucus results in Iowa, as final outcomes ultimately determine campaigns’ success in using Facebook, Twitter and other tools to garner support and rally the vote.

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