Santorum Surges On Facebook Days Ahead Of Iowa Vote

With days to go before voting in Iowa begins Tuesday, new polling and media coverage shows momentum by a relative newcomer to the leader board -- former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) -- which is also reflected on Facebook.

With days to go before voting in Iowa begins Tuesday, new polling and media coverage shows momentum by a relative newcomer to the leader board — former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) — which is also reflected on Facebook.

A new poll by CNN/Time indicates that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul remain atop the pack with 25 percent and 22 percent of likely caucus voter support, respectively while Santorum has surged to third place with 16 percent, and Newt Gingrich faded to fourth place with 14 percent support.

The latest poll numbers are supported by the Inside Election Tracker 2012 data for new Facebook fan page growth among the Republican presidential primary contenders.

In a rapidly changing race, the candidates whose Facebook pages saw the most gains in the past seven days were Paul, Romney, and Santorum. However, Santorum enjoyed the strongest fan-page growth rate among all of the Republican candidates this week.

It seems like Facebook and other social media platforms may be joining more traditional benchmarks — such as polling — to indicate the strength of a candidate.

To win in Iowa requires a strong ground game — a candidate that can organize support and get people to go to the caucuses and vote. For campaigns with limited resources, Facebook is a great tool to organize, share information, and mobilize supporters.

Santorum has spent all of his time in Iowa, and he is the only candidate to visit all 99 counties. Now we can see whether his momentum on Facebook translates into votes Tuesday.

What do you think of Santorum’s surge on Facebook ahead of the Iowa caucus?