Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Twitter and Facebook Primary Update: The GOP Stretch Run

With the holiday season winding down the stretch run in Iowa and New Hampshire I thought I would take another look at how the candidates Facebook and Twitter followings associate with their Real Clear Politics (RCP) polling averages.  There are 3 candidates left in the democrats and 12 left for the GOP.  There were 13 yesterday before George Pataki dropped out of the race when I collected the data so he is included.  The data for the Republicans is presented below. Facebook provides more data on their followers in terms of engagement so their are more variables for Facebook.  Trump has more than 5 million followers on Facebook and Twitter.  Ben Carson has faded in the polls but still has 5 million followers with 896424 engaged with the page.

Twitter followers
FB Followers Dec
Engaged FB Dec
engagement rate Dec
Gain in FB Followers
RCP Dec Poll Avg
Donald Trump
5483626
5076088
1867698
0.36794
1793480
36.5
Ted Cruz
683376
1741989
311803
0.178993
356113
17.8
Mike Huckabee
432248
1860884
92161
0.049525
33461
1.8
Rick Santorum
250712
268813
5538
0.020602
4017
0.5
Ben Carson
1079406
5020690
896424
0.178546
2602687
9.3
Rand Paul
753468
2091438
326094
0.155919
31008
2.5
Jeb Bush
408115
309478
47112
0.152231
58747
4.2
Marco Rubio
1039434
1174934
70009
0.059585
196533
11.3
Chris Christie
77049
142603
13530
0.094879
23735
4.2
Carly Fiorina
642870
536919
23281
0.04336
255282
2.2
John Kasich
148238
154305
6159
0.039914
16092
2
George Pataki
82930
20138
151
0.007498
1808
0.2
Jim Gilmore
2612
8660
7415
0.856236
8660
0
 

I looked at the Correlations for the GOP candidates first.  The correlation matrix of the candidates data can be seen at the bottom of the post with  significant correlations in bold.  The number of engaged Facebook followers is now more highly correlated with the candidates support than the total number of followers on FB with the RCP poll data.  The candidates Twitter following is most highly correlated with candidate support accounting for 84% of the variability (it was 76% of the variability in the last Twitter primary update in August).  The scatterplot shows that Trump is way ahead with the RCP average and the Twitter followers.  If Trump is excluded from the analysis,only the number of twitter followers is significantly correlated with the RCP average with a coefficient of 0.65 accounting for 42% of the variability in the poll data.  This suggests that Trump has a high influence on the relationship between having a large social media following and high poll numbers. 

One outlier in this analysis is Ted Cruz who has the second highest poll average but the 5th highest Twitter and Facebook following.  The high correlation between the Twitter following and the number engaged on Facebook suggest that the number engaged on Twitter for Trump is also high even though only 64% or more than 2.9 million of his followers are real according to the website TwitterAudit which is far more than the total followers of the rest of the GOP field. Ted Cruz has 75% of his followers being real.  96% of my 967 followers on Twitter (@CSIwoDB) are real.  Next I will look at the Democrats social media following and their RCP poll averages with three candidates.



Twitter followers
FB Followers Dec
FB Engaged Dec
FB Engagement Rate Dec
Gain in FB
Followers
RCP Dec
Twitter followers
1





FB Followers Dec
0.751
1




Engaged Dec
0.937
0.900
1



Engagement rate Dec
0.194
0.112
0.242
1


Gain in FB Followers
0.621
0.904
0.818
0.145
1

RCP Dec
0.916
0.723
0.877
0.177
0.608
1


Time will tell if Trump's social media following will translate into wins in the primaries.  Cruz is leading Trump by an average of 2.8% in recent Iowa polls with the Caucus being on Feb 1.  Trump is still leading in New Hampshire and in other states.  Certainly having a large following gives candidates a cheap way to communicate with their supporters and the media.  The challenge is will it motivate people to go to the polls.

  **Related Posts**

Twitter Primary: Following and Presidential Candidate Support

The Ethics of Social Media Manipulation

Facebook Primary 2016, August Update, Does it Predict Support?

Bernie Sanders is as Electable as Clinton