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Social Advocacy and Politics: Facebook Buzz Predicts Bernie Sanders' Rise in Primaries

Social Advocacy and Politics: Facebook Buzz Predicts Bernie Sanders' Rise in Primaries | Social Media TodayWhether you look at the “people talking” on candidate Facebook Pages (Likes, comments and shares over the past week) or the larger metric of Facebook buzz provided by USA Today’s Facebook Barometer (Likes, comments, shares and mentions over the past week), the better a candidate is doing on Facebook, the better they tend to do in the subsequent primaries. Specifically with respect to the Democratic contest, we've seen Bernie Sanders rising in both Facebook buzz and in delegates won in the subsequent primaries and caucuses.

On March 8, 2016, while Hillary Clinton maintained a healthy Facebook buzz lead (34,053,000 vs. 24,651,000), according to USA Today’s Facebook Barometer, Sanders numbers were rising and Clinton’s numbers were falling from the previous week.

 

USA Today’s Facebook Buzz 3/8/16

 

Delegates Won on 3/15/16

Candidate

Trend

FL

IL

MO

NC

OH

Hillary Clinton

34,053,000

down

133

73

34

59

80

Bernie Sanders

24,651,000

UP

65

70

34

45

62

As the results show, Sanders was able to win a sizable number of delegates as Clinton in most of these contests, even tying her in Missouri. And as we then saw in the most recent round of contests, Sanders outperformed Clinton on both Facebook buzz and delegates won.

 

Facebook People Talking 3/22-28/16

22-Mar

26-Mar

 

Candidate

AZ

ID

UT

AK

WA

HI

Hillary Clinton

                       697,498

44

6

6

3

9

8

Bernie Sanders

                   1,178,158

30

17

26

13

25

17

                 
 

Using the alternative measure of Facebook buzz provided by Facebook on the candidate’s pages, we see that Bernie Sanders outperformed Clinton over the week of the last two sets of primaries and caucuses by nearly double. Correspondingly, Sanders picked up significantly more delegates in 5 of the 6 contests than Clinton.

The data suggests that if Bernie Sanders can maintain his dominance over Hillary Clinton with respect to Facebook buzz, he has a chance to accumulate more than enough pledged delegates to overtake her. Maintaining this edge, of course, remains a tall order. But unlike the analysis of pundits who keep talking about how the “math” is against Sanders, this analysis says that the probabilities currently favor Sanders. If he can keep it up, the pundits may learn, finally, that predicting elections is about probabilities, not math.

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