Monday, September 2, 2019

Facebook Primary: Page Likes Predict Democrat Support (Except for Joe Biden)

Four years ago I showed that a candidate's following on Facebook predicted their support in the polls at this point four years ago.  It predicted 70.6% of the variability for Republicans and 75.6% of it for Democrats.  I thought I would lake a look at how the candidates fare with Facebook and Twitter in the Democratic primary this time around.  The 13 candidates that appear in the RCP poll Average are summarized in the graph below.



The graph above shows the number of Facebook page likes for the candidates on the x axis and the Real Clear Politics (RCP) national poll average % for that candidate.  The linear regression model accounted for 42.1% of the variability in the RCP average.  The fit line plot above show a good fit for each of the candidates except for Joe Biden who has the highest RCP poll average at 28.9% but only 1,487,733 Facebook page likes.  Biden has name recognition because he was Obama's Vice President.



If the model is rerun with Biden excluded, Facebook page likes now account for 87.1% of the variability in the RCP poll average.  The model predicts that for every increase on one million page likes for the candidate's official Facebook page, the RCP poll average is expected to increase by 3.62%.  If 100% of the variability were accounted for, all of the candidates would form a perfect straight line on the graph.  

I did look at the candidate's Twitter followings and their poll averages.  A similar pattern was found but the relationship was not as strong as it was for Facebook.  The model with Biden included accounted for 34.3% of the variability and without him it accounted for 55.4%.  

One should be careful not to assume a strong Facebook or Twitter following causes a candidate to have high poll numbers.  Strong poll numbers could cause a high Facebook following.  The Twitter and Facebook followings were highly correlated with a coefficient of 0.9018 accounting for 81.3% of the variability.

Kirsten Gillibrand and Jay Inslee dropped out of the race with 381,476 and 75,202 page likes respectively.  Michael Bennett, Bill De Blasio, and others remain in the race despite not registering in the polls and not qualifying for the Sept 12 debate.  Bennett has 103,933 page likes and De Blasio has 66,070.  Tulsi Gabbard just missed the debate because she did not have enough individual donors.  

The candidates poll numbers and Facebook and Twitter followings are summarized in the table below.  Facebook has taken steps to curve foreign influence in the upcoming election.  It will remain a force in the election.

Candidate
RCP Poll Avg %
FB Following
Twitter following
Biden
28.9
   1,487,733
   3,706,982
Sanders
17.1
   5,104,561
   9,619,000
Warren
16.5
   3,281,315
   3,087,005
Harris
7
   1,148,762
   3,090,636
Buttigieg
4.6
      441,495
   1,396,792
Yang
2.5
      178,036
      747,425
Booker
2.4
   1,192,725
   4,344,745
O'Rourke
2.4
        916,711
   1,565,273
Gabbard
1.4
       377,434
      542,790
Castro
1.1
       141,257
        379,882
Klobuchar
0.9
       258,582
        755,517
Bullock
0.8
         32,231
        185,238
Williamson
0.8
       814,883
     2,759,880


**Related Posts**



No comments:

Post a Comment