Monitoring Social Media Support

by | Mar 30, 2016 | 2016 Elections, Carolina Strategic Analysis, Features, NC Politics, NCGov, Social Issues | 24 comments

It’s been a week since Governor McCrory signed HB2. So, how are things looking on social media? On Twitter, there’s been outrage. But I actually think to get a more accurate gauge of things, you have to look at Facebook – in particular, Facebook ‘likes’. Facebook is less millennial-oriented, less likely to be dominated by political hacks, and more representative of the population at large.

Let’s take a look at Pat McCrory’s page. He has 121,900 likes (up 3.8% from last week). He has 4,412 new page likes in the past week (and that’s up 163.4% over the week before that). For whatever reason, over 4,000 people this week took the time to register support for the governor and ‘like’ his page.

Now compare Roy Cooper. This is his first gubernatorial campaign, so he doesn’t have nearly as many likes as McCrory – 34,654. That’s still up 17.1% from last week. And in the past week, he’s gotten 5,071 new page likes (and that’s up 249.5% over the week before that). That’s more than McCrory, but not much more.

So, with all the acrimony over the transgender bathroom debate, the two gubernatorial candidates received a roughly even share of new Facebook likes over the past week – with a slight edge to the Attorney General. That’s how I think the debate is playing out in reality: a net benefit for Cooper overall, but something that’s galvanized support for both candidates.

In such a tightly contested gubernatorial race as this one, the candidates will take any advantage they can get. But so far, the boost for Democrats from this debate and Roy Cooper in particular has been far from decisive. If this is shocking to people, perhaps it’s time to get out of their bubble – and, ironically, step away from social media for a while.


  1. Kellis

    Don’t just look at the likes on a FB page, read some of the comments. The comments on 2 of McCrory’s pages were largely negative toward him. Turn to 1 of Berger’s pages, the negative comments are in a clear majority. The governor has alienated many who voted for him, and they aren’t going to back him this time. I also don’t believe he thought that he would get this level of backlash against HB2.

    • Apply Liberally

      But if the blogger read/cited the comments and went beyond just counting the number of “LIKES,” his narrative and point would be, well, a major fail. 😉

  2. Norma Munn

    I lived in NYC for several decades. Any Senator from NY is responsive to Wall Street. It is the major industry in both NYC and NYS. Also, one would have to believe that Hillary Clinton is/was so stupid as to have said anything to Goldman Sachs executives that would promise them anything. Nor in fact, are they likely to have expected it. My guess is that since they are always involved with international finance, they wanted to hear about the rest of the world from a former Secretary of State. I also doubt she can release anything other than her formal speech since a transcript would require that anyone from Goldman Sachs who asked a question would have to agree to be identified. That is very unlikely.
    I understand the issues around Wall Street and have zero sympathy for their culture that puts making money above everything else, and I am well aware of the mortgage debacle and sad, sad losses to millions of families. But the innuendo about Hillary Clinton from Bernie Sanders is just as unfair as some of what Trump does; just more polite on the surface. Will Wall Street have more access to a President Hillary Clinton because they paid her extremely well for three speeches. No. Will she do their bidding? No. (That, for the record is the job of the other NYS Senator, who has been doing it quietly and very well for decades.) And access does not mean getting what one wants. Far from it as any lobbyist or citizen advocate can attest.
    I enjoy Bernie, and I applaud his focus on income inequality. But his speeches are pretty much what I heard in the 60’s, and while I also applauded then, I need much more today. After decades of working with the political scene in NYC & NYS, and occasionally DC, I value actually getting something done. Especially after the last few years. Will Hillary be able to outsmart the GOP obstructionism? I don’t know, but I do know she is a very tough, experienced woman. Far, far tougher than Bernie, which probably annoys some folks. Frankly, as a very famous film star said, I don’t give a damn.
    If young people supporting Bernie, decide to sit on their hands if Clinton is the nominee, they may well throw the election to one of the GOP clowns. I recognize that, but there is nothing I can do about it.
    It is indeed, an odd election, fraught with great risk and equally great possibilities.

    • cosmic Janitor

      If you would bother to do some background research on her actions as Secretary of State, you would easily find that Hillary Clinton is a neo-con republican warmonger – as well as a habitual, detestable liar (under fire while landing in Croatia anyone?). Furthermore, please explain why Ms. Warmonger, as SOS, chose to appoint two of the filthiest republican neo-con hawks to prominent positions within her State Department: Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland. Billary has had her bloody hand in the coups in Honduras, Ukraine and Libya costing thousands of innocent lives, and again if she’d had her way in Syria – calling for Obama to bomb the Assad government even when all the evidence pointed to the supposedly moderate US. terrorists as the ones who unleashed the chemical attacks. The truth is Hillary’s worst enemy anhenryd if she was not a proven war criminal neither war criminal Dick Cheney nor Kissinger would be backing her bid for the Oval Office. As far as what she would do for Wall Street, it was her husband who rescinded the Glass/Stegall Act, which unleashed the criminality of the big banks, eventually leading to the global economic crisis of 2008 – a crisis which allowed the Federal Reserve to bail these very banks out while increasing the US national debt by almost 4 trillion dollars. We have had more than enough of these crooked Clintons.

    • Kellis

      I truly hope that no one stays home on election day. It isn’t just the youth vote that is threatening to stay home, but some, like me, in their 60s and 70s and beyond, who have waited for over 50 years for someone like Bernie and are saying that if it isn’t Bernie, they will stay home. I say go vote. The DNC and Hillary are doing everything they can to push Bernie off the stage, and I am sure the fix is in so Hillary will get what she has been promised. However, turn to the Green Party; they have a most capable candidate in Dr. Jill Stein, a strong woman and someone who understands where we need to go. If Bernie isn’t the dem candidate, then I have no problems voting for Dr. Stein for president. I have been very unhappy with several dem candidates whom I felt weren’t good for the country or whom I felt couldn’t win; I will no longer hold my nose when the candidate is someone who is totally undeserving of being on the ticket.

  3. Someone from Main Street

    For once, I agree with John Wynne. This is FAR from a slam dunk for the Democrats. McCrory is up for re-election. This will be used by evangelicals to get the base out for McCrory. And they are RILED UP GOOD about this – and very thankful for McCrory’s actions.

    For Democrats to win, they will need to get out the vote. If Bernie is not at the top of the ticket, this could be problematic – the youth vote may stay home.

    • Nortley

      “the youth vote may stay home.”

      Not that this is unprecedented or anything.

      • Someone from Main Street

        They came out for the primary… and may stay home in November. HRC is a very polarizing figure for many. Trump is viewed by many many people as the anti-candidate – and popular in part for that reason. Democrats need to mobilize their voters. Staying home is not the answer.

        • Nortley

          Staying home is not the answer, you are right and that includes doing so because your candidate lost the primary is just as much not the answer, especially since there is more on the ballot than just the presidency.

          The youth vote is notorious for not turning out and then they whine because candidates don’t address their issues. Cause and effect.

        • Norma Munn

          You are, of course, correct that staying home is not a wise choice, but I do wonder when any strong woman running for the presidency will NOT be a polarizing figure? Somehow I don’t see those remarks about Bernie, which I could say is puzzling, but actually I am too old to be that naive. Has anyone considered what will happen to Democratic candidates in a general election if those women who are usually reliable voters stay home? Why is it OK to assume that we would swallow our distress and vote for Bernie? Being taken for granted is beginning to wear on my soul. And I am certain that I am not alone.

          • Someone from Main Street

            HRC is polarizing in part because of her gender. But for me, a bigger problem is her cozy relationship with Wall Street. Why can’t she release her speeches she was paid to deliver to Wall Street bankers? That makes no sense.

            HRC will likely be the candidate for the Democrats. But Democrats AND Republicans have to look closely at why the “protest” candidates (Sanders and Trump) were so strongly attractive to so many voters.

            The collapse of the economy – and more importantly – the national collapse of home values – were significant blows to the middle class.

            Obama failed to address that in his two terms. Romney, in 2012, told wealthy supporters that he believed nearly HALF of all Americans were moochers, unwilling to work for their living. Trump appeals to the radical racists that have been primed for decades by GOP’s racist appeals. HRC is friends with Wall Street. Sanders, a two-term Senator, is running as the “outsider” to all those political wheeler-dealers who’ve thrown the American public under the bus. Oddest election I’ve ever witnessed…

          • Ebrun

            OMG, what’s a distressed liberal to do? A vote for Hillary is a vote to keep Wall Street in power. Play the race and vote for Sanders? But he won’t be the Democrats’ candidate. Staying home may be your best option.

  4. George Orwell

    John Wynne,

    Which of the many McCrory facebook pages are you looking at…Gov, McCrory, McCrory for Gov., Office of the Governor, Recall Gov McCrory etc etc….This article seems to be pretty low in facts and reality. Are you looking at the ones where every negative comment is deleted, or just the ones that have been abandoned and new ones opened. Are you being fooled by a fool? When you have more than 1 facebook page you are violating Facebook policy, but McCrory violates every law.

  5. Lonnie

    The CEOs of Lowe’s, Google, Apple and Red Hat are hearing the music “Dueling Banjos” from the Movie “Deliverance” in their heads as puppets of Authoritarians and Theocrats try to defend this bill that panders to bigots.

  6. F Dunn

    That analysis is completely moronic.

    • Norma Munn

      Agreed. Math is also strange unless one sees a 20% difference on Cooper’s favor insignificant. I think my informal poll among friends and casual bystanders conversation is probably at least as reliable – sort of like polling cab drivers in NYC a few decades ago. So far 1 on favor,1 sort of (call it Wishy washy vote), 1 unaware of the issue (must have spent the past few days in outer space) and 32 against . Based on that highly unscientific poll, I predict Cooper is a shoo in for governor!

  7. Danny Cameron It only takes a few minutes to email the governor and tell him how you feel about HB2. He won’t see the emails but the office will keep count and let him know. I think it’s worth spreading this idea on social media. thanks.

  8. Cosmic Janitor

    The issue isn’t wether the NCGA will get away with what they just did or not, but what did they use the special legislative session to actually pass into law? and the answer to that is a whole lot more than just revoking the Charlotte non-discrimination clause – which in itself is bad enough. This is what concerns NC. citizens, that and the glaring fact that the people do not accept the republican dominated NC. General Assembly basically asserting that they will rule the state with an iron fist wether the people approve of their actions or not, particularly when that legislation is used expressly to overrule the ‘will of the people’. Well, we don’t approve of such legislation and remedies are only a few months away – thank goodness. Hopefully, this last little charade will put the final nails in the coffin of the republican ‘corporate’ party’s majority in the NCGA, as well as the governor’s office. Are we to believe that republican party supporters are so blind in their party loyalty that they will subserviently accept corporate authoritarian rule?

  9. Kirk House

    Just a quick note on the new “likes” for the Guv’s page: I follow a lot of pages, and people, on Facebook – including a number that I consider myself at odds with, politically. I’ve never “liked” the Governor’s page before; but I reluctantly did so this past week, for one express reason: so that I could register my own comments there. I regret that my action may seem, on the surface, to be a measure of support for the Governor, because I assure you I do not support him or his position on HB2. I wonder how many other “likes” he got are in this category?

    • Progressive Wing

      Kirk: You hit on one reason why Wynne’s FB-based analysis is so very off-base. FB “Likes” mean nothing, with FB post/thread tenor and direction meaning only a bit more at best.
      FB should not be used to gauge public sentiment on issues Twitter is a much better indicator of immediate social issue reaction, leanings and trends.
      Wynne should have followed his own advice to step away from social media (in this case, FaceBook) for a while.”

    • Ebrun

      I can comment on most any politician’s FB page without having to hit the like button. Do it all the time. And in my area, I know of many people, mostly seniors, who would not even consider becoming involved with internet social media on any issue, much less stating their political opinions. But you can sure count on them coming out to vote in droves on election day. Every election the Dems are ahead in early voting in my county, but the Republicans usually surpass their totals on election day.

      • Kirk House

        Thanks, Ebrun. I admit I didn’t attempt to leave a comment on Gov. McCrory’s page before I “liked” the page; there are indeed some pages that one can do that. But there are also a large number of political pages where one can *not* do that (I know from experience). I think it depends on how the politician sets up their page…? Anyway, I just now took my “like” away from the Gov. and left my status as simply “following” (more neutral); and it appears I still have “comment” ability. Glad to be able to take away my “like” 🙂 So thanks for getting me to look at it again.

        • Apply Liberally

          Kirk: You mean like Sen. Chad Barefoot’s FB page, which allows no comments? The comments posted on there against his gerrymandering of local Wake districts bill, his claims of being the “champion of education,” and his mother-in-law’s (Tami Fitzgerald’s) anti-gay stands, got so many and loud, he shut posting access down.

    • R Moore

      Agreed. Many people “like” pages so that posts from the person or organization will show up in their feed so they can respond immediately.

      One curious thing that bears looking at with McCrory’s page – there are many comments on his post that have almost the exact same “thank you governor for keeping us safe” wording attached to profiles that look sketchy (no public info on the person or no photo). FB likes and comments can be easily purchased.

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