Obama Vs. Romney On Facebook Vs. Twitter

Stats like growth in Twitter followers and average number of retweets on posts favor Mitt Romney's campaign, but President Obama's social media machine remains bigger overall.

David F Carr, Editor, InformationWeek Government/Healthcare

October 1, 2012

3 Min Read

Social Studies: Obama vs. Romney

Social Studies: Obama vs. Romney

Social Studies: Obama vs. Romney (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would like some good news, there's some to be found (if you look hard enough) in a SocialBakers analysis of the public's response to Romney versus President Barack Obama on Facebook and Twitter.

In the infographic reproduced below, you can see that Romney's fan and follower counts are growing faster than Obama's and his tweets are actually retweeted more broadly. However, for the most part these positive signs are statistical illusions, as Mike Gisondi of SocialBakers explains in a blog post on the analysis. "Barack Obama dominates both social media channels, due to the fact that he's been involved with them much longer than his contender, having successfully pioneered social media in the previous election cycle and continuing to take full advantage during his current term. Romney, on the other hand, has much higher growth rates, as he has a lot of catching up to do," Gisondi explained.

In other words, Romney's percentage growth in social media fans reflects the fact that he is starting with a much smaller base.

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Romney "does get more retweet activity, because he actually tweets less," Gisondi said. "The average amount his tweets are retweeted is actually slightly higher, but Obama tweets about 10 times more."

One other thing that stands out in the graphic is a word cloud analysis showing that the thing Romney seems to be talking the most about is Barack Obama. This plays into the Democratic narrative that Romney is more against Obama than he is for any particular alternative. "Very much so," Gisondi said, pointing out that the reference in the Twitter stream is actually an @mention of "@barackobama."

"He's actually sending this to Obama's Twitter feed, trying to leverage that audience," Gisondi said.

An excerpt from the SocialBakers analysis (complete infographic, next page).

His blog post also points out that only President Obama "has mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan through Twitter (three times each), but neither candidate has mentioned Libya, Syria, or Iran since May. Romney tweeted about Israel once, criticizing Obama for not having visited there yet this term." Barack Obama had nearly 20 million Twitter followers as of September 19, having grown his base by 5 million since May 1. That's almost twenty times Romney's following, which has only grown by 664,911 since May.

On Facebook, Mitt Romney has a total of 7 million fans and has posted 422 times, with 1.85 million shares. His fan base has grown by 5 million or 76% since May 1. Obama has 28.7 million, but has only grown his base by 2.5 million or 8.83% since May. He has posted only 179 times, but has had 2.4 million shares.

A previous SocialBakers analysis released in June showed Obama beating Romney on Facebook. SocialBakers has been providing a running tally of social media results at www.socialbakers.com/elections/ and plans to publish one more big wrap-up before the election. Obama continues to show good odds for a reelection victory according to big data prediction models as well as the polls. (Disclosure: In my spare time, I run a local organizing website for Democrats in Broward County, Florida).

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

David F Carr

Editor, InformationWeek Government/Healthcare

David F. Carr oversees InformationWeek's coverage of government and healthcare IT. He previously led coverage of social business and education technologies and continues to contribute in those areas. He is the editor of Social Collaboration for Dummies (Wiley, Oct. 2013) and was the social business track chair for UBM's E2 conference in 2012 and 2013. He is a frequent speaker and panel moderator at industry events. David is a former Technology Editor of Baseline Magazine and Internet World magazine and has freelanced for publications including CIO Magazine, CIO Insight, and Defense Systems. He has also worked as a web consultant and is the author of several WordPress plugins, including Facebook Tab Manager and RSVPMaker. David works from a home office in Coral Springs, Florida. Contact him at [email protected]and follow him at @davidfcarr.

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