Social Media Follows: Ranking the Senate Candidates (January Edition)

by | Jan 15, 2014 | 2014 Elections, Carolina Strategic Analysis, Features, Social Media Rankings, US Senate


It’s been a long time since we examined how the U.S. Senate candidates are doing in terms of social media. A loooooooooong time. For those of you who are just joining us, it’s a gauge of support where we add number of Facebook ‘likes’ to the number of Twitter followers for each candidate. It’s an interesting exercise, but probably doesn’t have much predictive value. Or does it? The last time we looked at social media trends, it was back in October. So what has changed since then?

As before, the first number is number of ‘likes’ on Facebook. The second number is Twitter followers. The combined total is each candidate’s ‘score’.

1. Dr. Greg Brannon 64,042 + 2,443 = 66,485 (November total = 37,262) +29,223
2. Sen. Kay Hagan 44,243 + 4,701 = 48,944 (November total = 37,317) +11,627
3. Speaker Thom Tillis 42,365 + 5,185 = 47,550 (November total = 36,423) +11,127
4. Bill Flynn 327 + 6,328 = 6,655 (November total = N/A)
5. Rev. Mark Harris 1,899 + 1,119 = 3,018 (November total = 1,068) +1,950
6. Heather Grant 676 + 1,306 = 1,982 (November total = 1,591) +391
7. Former Mayor Ted Alexander 400 + 25 = 425 (November total = N/A)

When it comes to support on social media, Dr. Greg Brannon is the far and away winner. Not only does he outpace Republican frontrunner Thom Tillis, he’s also ahead of Hagan by almost 18,000 followers. It’s still questionable whether or not Brannon will have the funds to make it to the airwaves, so this heavy presence on social media might be a function of that. If follows on social media are any indicator of support, then Brannon will win the primary, handily. The thing is, it’s not clear if strong social media support lends itself to actual support come primary day. But it is an interesting point in his favor.

There are two new names on the list, not included in the November edition – Bill Flynn and Ted Alexander. Flynn’s campaign has been active for two months; Alexander just entered a few days ago. Don’t look at his last place ranking here as particularly significant.

The Momentumeter
Well, we know who leads in terms of actual follows, but who has the momentum? Remember, this is based on numbers from November. The momentumeter measures percentage change in support as a gauge of momentum. What does it tell us this month?


And the candidate with the most momentum is …

*****Rev. Mark Harris +183%*****
Dr. Greg Brannon +78%
Sen. Kay Hagan +31%
Speaker Thom Tillis +31%
Heather Grant +25%

Rev. Harris more than doubled his number of social media followers. So this month, Harris is the momentum king. Brannon also has strong momentum. Hagan, Tillis, and Grant’s numbers are stable. Flynn and Alexander were not included here, but they will be next month. Given that Alexander just started out, he will be heavily favored as the candidate with momentum going into next month, which brings up a flaw with the momentumeter – it’s biased toward candidates who are new entrants! Hopefully, after the filing period, things will settle down a bit.

So ends another possibly pointless exercise in examining social media trends in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina. How much predictive power does it have? That will hinge on well how Brannon does in May!


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