Social media played an important role in the 2008 presidential election, and in 2012 it looks like it will be a critical factor in rallying support and reaching voters, especially for candidates without massive super PACs.
Social Media Growth
To better understand which presidential candidate will have the largest social media presence come election time, let’s compare the number of new Facebook likes and Twitter followers they have added in the first three months of 2012.
Barack Obama’s Social Media Dominance
Based on our research and the infographic by Overdrive below, it looks like Barack Obama will maintain his massive social media lead over Republican candidates. In fact, if you combine the leading Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul’s Facebook likes together, they are still 22.9 million short of Barack Obama.
Republican Social Media Leaders
Out of all Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney has the most Facebook likes, with over 1.55 million. On Twitter, Newt Gingrich leads with more than 1.45 million.
Despite not having the largest social media presence, both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are experiencing the highest growth rates out of all the candidates.
Based on these numbers, it appears Ron Paul’s social media presence, at least on Twitter, could become one of the largest among all Republican presidential candidates.
Despite having fewer than 200 thousand Facebook likes and Twitter followers, Rick Santorum has more than doubled his Facebook and Twitter follwing in the last three months. His Facebook likes have increased by over 145 thousand, more than quadrupling his numbers from the beginning of January. On Twitter, he tripled his following by adding over 127 thousand new followers.
If Rick Santorum’s rapid growth rate continues to increase, he could be the new leader among Republican candidates on Facebook come election time.
Out of all the presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich has had the smallest number of new Facbook likes and Twitter followers. In the last three months, he only increased his Facebook likes by 81,000, and his Twitter followers by 70,000.
Presidential Election 2012 Social Media Ranking Infographic on January 3rd, 2012
Infographic courtesy of Overdrive Interactive.