Nov 06 2012

Did Social Media Predict the 2012 Elections?

Fans and followers are great for campaigning — but did they vote?

In our recent infographic “Social Media and the Popular Vote”, we took a look at whether social media played a role in deciding the winner of five elections in 2010 and 2011. We found a correlation (not a causation) between election outcomes and the number of Twitter followers or Facebook fans a candidate had.

Since 2008, which is widely considered the first election where social media played an important role in campaigning, candidates have taken to Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about their post-election plans, engage with voters and bash opponents. Social media users at large have responded, following their candidate and putting mobile devices to work to share political stories with friends, fact check what “the other guy” said and keep tabs on polls.

Here are a few statistics from Pew Internet on how smartphone owners have used their devices in response to election news:

  • 45 percent have accessed a social networking site with their smartphones to read other people’s comments about a candidate or the campaign in general.
  • 35 percent have used their smartphones to determine whether something heard about a candidate or the campaign in general was true.
  • 18 percent have used their smartphones to post their own comments about a candidate or the campaign in general on a social networking site.

Read the full study here.

So much attention was given to social media this election season that it’s only right to see whether it predicted the outcomes. To view the results, use your mouse to scratch off and reveal the winner in each election.

You will need a modern browser that supports HTML5 to use this feature. Find out if your browser supports HTML5 here. On older browsers, only the results will appear below.


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