As an organization that blends politics with pop culture, we spend a lot of time thinking about social media. Some of our affiliated artists like Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon and Jack Johnson have millions of Facebook fans. Questlove, who will be ringing up voters to remind them about the election in November (pledge to vote now and you’ll get a call from him too) has another million followers on Twitter.
So we thought it would be interesting to check out what the Midterm Election candidates are doing online, and what we found kind of made our heads spin...
Republicans have about four times as many Facebook Fans as their Democratic counterparts, and five times as many Twitter followers. It’s a social media landslide.
The disparity was so shocking, we put together this report, so that media, political strategists, and all readers of the HeadCount blog could get their eyes on some pretty amazing information. It lists the Facebook and Twitter numbers for all the U.S. Senate candidates, as well as some other political figures and musicians.
It may not come as a real surprise that Republicans are out in front. The "enthusiasm gap" between the parties is well documented, and social media activity is a great barometer of people's passions. But four or five times bigger?
Republican candidates for the Senate have amassed 1.43 million Fans on Facebook, compared to just under 300,000 for Democrats. The differential on Twitter is even more striking, where Repubican Senatorial candidates collectively have close to 520,000 Followers, and Democrats are just below 90,000.
Even when eliminating Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and California Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, who respectively have the largest number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, Republicans are clearly making larger inroads with social media. Without McCain and Fiorina, Republican Senate candidates average 20,985 Facebook fans and 5,892 Twitter Followers. Democrats average 8,260 and 2,591, respectively.
One thing that didn't surprise us though - social media activity is still oriented around music a lot more than politics. That's why we still believe music is the best tool to reach young Americans and create a national conversation around the election.
Check out these two lists. One is the number of Facebook fans of the top 25 artists HeadCount has worked with to encourage voter participation. The other is of some of the largest political-oriented people, organizations and TV pundits. Other than Barack Obama himself, it's musicians who have the stronger hold. Our 10th-ranked band, Death Cab for Cutie, has nearly four times as many Facebook fans as social media "rock star" Ron Paul.