Happy Iowa Caucus Day… Why Do We Care?

The hotly anticipated Iowa Caucus takes place tonight at 7pm CT.  Don’t know much about what the caucus actually entails?  It works like a primary elections, except there are no official ballots.  Voters write the name of their chosen candidate on a piece of paper, drop it in a ballot box, and go on with their evenings.

Historically, the Iowa Caucus has not proven itself an accurate indicator of who eventually wins that year’s Presidential election.  In fact, the only candidate to win an Iowa Caucus and go on to win the presidency was George W. Bush in 2000.  Other winners of the Iowa Caucus have include Mike Huckabee and Bob Dole (twice!).

So, how in the world could a political spectator pick a winning candidate with so few options out there for accurate predictors?  Well, you may recall our posts about how Twitter Predicts GOP Frontrunners or how fundraising may be more correlated to election victors than poll numbers.

Today’s infographic from social media statisticians, Socialbakers, examines Facebook to determine which candidates have the biggest, most active fan bases.  Barack Obama’s fan count trumps the total fan count of the entire field of GOP candidates.  He dominates in other measures as well, but grassroots support for Ron Paul is evident with Paul owning 18.7% of all “likes” and comments (almost double Romney’s 10.3%) and boasting a maximum potential reach of 65 million people (again, almost double Romney’s 35%).

Some other interesting bits of data are uncovered in this Facebook comparison of candidates.  Who’s fan base talks the most amongst themselves?  The answer: Michelle Bachmann.  (Not sure that is really a measure for success persay…)  And does Rick Santorum’s nearly 25% surge in fan growth over the past month signal a real change in his campaign when he still only has 3.2% of Mitt Romney’s Facebook fan base?

Check out the data and make your own conclusions.  We think this is just the beginning of a new paradigm for tracking candidate popularity and predicting elections.

us elections 2012 infographics Happy Iowa Caucus Day... Why Do We Care?

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