U.S Politicians spending up to 12% of their campaign funds on digital media. October 19, 2012

It’s no wonder that the upcoming presidential elections are sweeping across the internet. It comes at a time where almost all voters have access to some sort of social media outlet and tracking their opinions and influencing the majority is of the utmost importance.

It has been estimated that $9 billion will be spent on this year’s campaigns across the country, with $159.2 million being spent online alone. This is a 616% increase from 2008.

Currently, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are battling it out on a 24 hour schedule. As the internet never sleeps it is constantly analysing data in regards to which side is cutting the lead. Presently it has been reported that Romney has around 1.5M Twitter followers, while Obama leads the way with 20.9M.  In regards to Facebook, Romney has 9.5M “Likes” while Obama has 30.8M – however, these numbers are a source of much debate as there are rumours that both sides have bulked up their numbers through robot users and buying fans in bulk.

iProspect has carried out some research into the “Top Activities” of both sides’ fan bases. They focused on Facebook as users are encouraged to add in their interests and activities and the data was readily available. The results of the research showed that:

Romney Fans enjoyed

  • Basketball
  • Guns
  • Gardening
  • Football
  • Church
  • Quilting

While Obama’s Fans enjoyed

  • Camping
  • Meditation
  • Stand up Comedy
  • Power Walking
  • Computer games
  • Jigsaw Puzzles

They say never discuss politics or religion with a friend and the numbers seem to support that assumption.  iProspect also carried out a survey on general users and found that –

  • 10% of users have admitted to blocking or deleting a friend for having too many posts involving politics.
  •  1/5 of Social Network users dare not post anything about their political beliefs in the worry that they will offend others.
  • 47% of users have “liked” an individual or a group in response to political comments or materials.
  • 38% of Social Network users have discovered their friend’s political beliefs were different than expected through their online posts

Social Media truly is the realm of the “people” and while politicians rely on their voters and the common beliefs being strewn out by Spin Doctors and PR Agents, attempting to manipulate the world of Social Networking is a gamble as one wrong move can leave a devastating blow. Romney has been the subject of many online jokes including his slip up concerning “binders full of women” and the economic situation of the lower classes. While a mistake can be pushed aside on print and television through PR tactics, the internet moves too fast and holds no rules, leaving the press agents running behind sweeping up the mess.

When elections are over, an analysis of the use of Social Media will take place in order to prepare future candidates for this new type of global communication.  Let’s just hope they have a strong lock to keep their skeletons deep in their closets.


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