Republican Presidential Candidate Elections


Peter Claridge

August 8, 2014 4 min read

Updated on September 18, 2019

Unmetric has studied the Facebook data for all the Republican Party presidential candidates since the first caucus on 3rd January in Iowa. In this first round, Mitt Romney was declared the winner with a razor thin margin over a surprise showing for Rick Santorum, further recounts on the 20th January declared Santorum as the winner.

Each candidate has had ups and downs in the last 35 days, some debates were disasters, some poll results were less than expected, attack ads pulled no punches, gaffs and flippant comments blown out of proportion, but how have all these events translated to social media?

Who Needs Facebook Fans?

Fan Growth and Total Fans

Romney has been unable to translate his fan numbers dominance in to a clear lead at the polls whereas Santorum, with barely 10% of the fans, is now in the lead thanks to his wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. His wins are certainly contributing to the stellar 150%+ growth rates his campaign has experienced since the first primary in Iowa.

Candidate Engagement Scores

It seems that even the engagement scores can’t give an accurate indication of how well a candidate will do in the polls. The engagement score is computed based on the number of Likes, Shares and Comments with different weightage given to each engagement type.

Mitt Romney

Until recently, Romney looked to be the runaway leader with Gingrich fighting hard to keep up with him and the fan growth has been pretty linear since Iowa, representing a sure and steady campaign? It seems that any attack ads or gaffs Romney has made haven’t had any negative impact on his fan growth but then again any big endorsements or successful debates are not giving him an injection of new fans.

Mitt Romney Fan Growth

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich’s campaign has seen many ups and downs and that’s certainly been reflected in his Facebook page fan growth. Until the 18th January it looked like his campaign team weren’t even trying to promote it but look what happens after the 18th Jan. More recently the fan growth has levelled out, possibly as Santorum has positioned himself as the alternative to Romney thanks to his caucus wins on February 7th.

Newt Gingrich Fan Growth

So what happened after the 18th January? Well there were two significant events. First, Rick Perry pulled out of the race on the 18th after a string of poor performances and officially endorsed Gingrich as his preferred candidate, secondly, media sensation, Sarah Palin also endorsed Gingrich on the same day. Both endorsements look like they gave a huge injection of new fans but of late a lack of big name endorsements and poor performance in the polls the growth rates look like they could return back to pre-Jan 18th levels.

Rick Santorum

Santorum has one of the most interesting growth patterns of all the candidates, reflecting perhaps the events in the real world. Before 3rd January Santorum was following the pack but then a surprise win in Iowa raised his profile and added over 20,000 fans in just three days – boosting his total fans by around one third. High value donations soon followed along with a valuable endorsement from media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, and he was able to achieve steady growth up to the 5th February when he pulled off a surprise treble in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri which added more fuel to his fan growth. Despite the phenomenal fan growth in the last 35 days, Santorum still has less than 10% of the number of fans of Romney and half the number of fans as Gingrich.

Rick Santorum Fan Growth

Ron Paul

Described as a Libertarian and a bit of a maverick, the Ron Paul fans are some of the most active and vocal in their support. With the mainstream media often accused of ignoring Paul by his loyal fans, they more than make up for it with the noise they create online. The steady growth in number of Likes closely mirrors that of Romney and suggests that neither good or bad news is able to affect the interest in Ron Paul.

Ron Paul Fan Growth

This is our first post on the Republican Presidential Candidate elections, we’ll be following this closely throughout the next 7 months and then can’t wait for the 2012 presidential elections to get underway!

Are you able to gleam anything from the charts above? Are there any metrics you want to know about to see if there are any correlations? Let us know in the comments below.

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