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Taking Stock of Social Media During the Iowa Caucus
Jan 05, 2012 // Jonah Seiger
If it were up to the Twitterverse, Ron Paul would be the GOP nominee for president; at least for the moment.
Even after Santorum surged to finish less than ten votes behind Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s Iowa caucus, the candidate receiving the highest volume of chatter was Ron Paul.
According to the Washington Post’s @MentionMachine, Paul leads all presidential candidates in Twitter mentions for the past three days with 210,109.
Santorum certainly saw a huge boost on Tuesday, moving into second place behind Paul and ahead of Barack Obama for the most mentioned candidate of the past week, but it was still Paul who garnered the most mentions as Iowa voters cast their ballots. Paul was mentioned in 107,616 tweets, while Santorum received 64,306 mentions and winner Mitt Romney had 44,193.
One reason for Paul’s Twitter dominance on Tuesday could be his shot at candidate Jon Huntsman. Though Huntsman did not participate in the caucus, a tweet from Paul’s account said “@jonhuntsman we found your one Iowa voter, he’s in Linn precinct 5 you might want to call him and say thanks."
The tweet clearly resonated with followers who found the insult amusing, as the Post’s @MentionMachine still shows it as the top tweet mentioning Huntsman.
Paul’s lead online is also reflected in search. The Google Politics and Elections Blog recently noted:
Paul’s search term totals haven’t just vastly outperformed those for his fellow candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationwide over the past months; [ron paul] is among the most popular News Search queries as well, exceeding even [christmas] over the month of December.
The Google post points out that search popularity is not necessarily indicative of support or opposition. Most searches related to Paul were about his activity in Iowa, debate performances, and polling, but quickly rising search terms towards the end of the month were related to the controversial newsletters distributed under his name.
Upcoming contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina should give a further indication of whether Paul will maintain his lead in search and social, and whether Santorum can capitalize on his momentum – both in the polls and on Twitter.blog comments powered by Disqus