Analysing The Online Race For The Republican Nomination (Part 1)

This post is part one of a multi-post series that I’m currently putting together. While not exactly a relevant news story for most Canadians I came across the Facebook pages of the American Republican party leadership candidates and after some digging saw some trends that I wanted to investigate and see if there were potentially some learning’s that can be applied elsewhere.

This first post is a simple one to start things off. Looking at the publicly available fan and demographic data from each candidate I came across some interesting observations:

Internet Popularity ≠ Real Life Action:

Currently in the delegate count the standings from first to last are Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul. Organized by Facebook fan base this is dramatically different and goes as follows: Romney, Paul, Gingrich, and Santorum. Romney simply by being the front runner in the race dominates in terms of fan membership but whats more interesting is Ron Paul is beating both Gingrich and Santorum while being last in terms of delegates earned. This points towards Paul having a strong presence online but a weak ability in converting this following to actual votes.

Fan Base Demographics Are Split Amongst The Candidates:

Another interesting finding I had was that fan base demographics were spread across the GOP candidates. Perhaps as expected Ron Paul attracts more fans aged 25-34 lending to the idea of his internet fame. On the other hand Romney and Gingrich are more popular among users 45-54 leaning more on the older side of the spectrum. Comparatively Santorum is able to bridge a bit more of a gap with his popularity among the 35-54 demographic. If Santorum uses this demographic spread to his advantage he may have an edge over the other candidates in terms of building awareness for his platform.

Growth Is Starting To Decline And One Candidate is Losing Steam:

My last bit of observation to share is of the slowing fan growth amongst the candidates. Over the month of March fan acquisition has  sees a progressive drop off  among all candidates with Romney then Paul leading in most fans gained.  A stand out in this slump has been Gingrich who has started to receive nearly no new fans. With talk suggesting that he drop out of the race perhaps his momentum has come to a halt.

Like I had mentioned this is the first post in a sequence. As I begin to get my full data set together and get deeper into the results I’ll begin sharing more. Stay tuned!

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