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Aug 19 2014

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Midterm Media



A few months ago we wrote about the online Twitter primary. As the 2014 midterm elections get closer, we have chosen three races to look at and see if Twitter is any indication about where candidates stand in the polls. We have discussed the fact that President Obama blew Senator McCain and Governor Romney out of the water when it came to social media presence and that a lot of people contribute those facts to his two victories.

But is it always the case?

Reminder: Governers are elected every four years, senators every six and members of the House of Representitives every two. Each election cycle different candidates are up for reelection. Ah the wonders of checks and balances. In this piece we will look at one race from each of the aforementioned categories.

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Governor:

There are currently twenty nine Republican governors and twenty one Democrats. The Dems are looking at this election as an opportunity gain some ground. One of the most interesting elections is the state of Florida. This state is usually one of the main deciders in presidential elections.

The candidates this year are incumbent Republican governor, Rick Scott and former governor, Charlie Crist. There are two factors that make this a particularly interesting election.

1)      Both have been governor in the past few years and have high name recognition in the state.

2)      When Crist was governor from 2007-2011 he was a Republican. He became a Democrat after he lost the primary election for senator to Marco Rubio in 2010.

The current breakdown has Crist at 20.6 thousand followers and Scott at 49.6 thousand. Scott also has a lot more Facebook fans than Crist does.

Yet none of it seems to matter here since this race has been neck and neck for the last couple of months. The incumbent has a tiny lead in the polls, certainly what you would expect from someone who seems so popular on social media.

Senate:

The senate race that we are analyzing also goes the conventional wisdom that the Twitter leader should be winning in the polls. In the state is Louisiana, incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landreiu has just over 3,800 Twitter followers where her Republican challenger, Representative Bill Cassidy has 7,186.

This is surprising as Landrieu has been in the Senate since 1997 and Cassidy has only been on the national political scene since he became a member of the House in 2009.

Most polls, however, have this state as a true toss-up (with a combined average of all polls giving the challenger a one point lead). Here we see that it is possible that an increasing amount of online attention has propelled a relatively new politician neck and neck with a Senate veteran.

House of Representatives:

For this chamber, we picked a more obscure (yet very competitive) race. The reason is two-fold:

1)      To contrast the difference between a state wide election and a race for the Governorship.

2)      To give the rest of us a reality check that the whole world does not revolve around social media.

In Minnesota’s seventh district, Democratic congressman Collin Peterson has held his seat since 1991. He has 199 Twitter followers. Rep. Peterson is being challenged by a Torrey Westrom, a Republican state senator who, interestingly enough, lost his vision as a teenager and is now blind. Westrom has 363 followers on Twitter.  Neither of the candidates Twitter handles are officially verified by Twitter.

Based on the very little data that is available, this race is likely to go to the incumbent.

(Note – this does not need to always be the case – sometimes members of the House have tens of thousands of followers)

As election season heats up and we wait to see who prevail, we see that – at least in some cases – it is not a given that amount of Twitter followers correlates with who will win elections. But, as a wise man said, it can’t hurt.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.umoove.me/?p=138

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