Inside look at CNN and Facebook's first election analysis

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

In July CNN and Facebook announced a major partnership around the election. “America’s Choice 2012” is an analysis of Facebook’s more than 160 million users in the U.S. and CNN’s multi-platform audience. Their first big report is out and we spoke to Michelle Jaconi, CNN’s Executive Producer of Cross-Platform programming about the results.

The major headline of the new announcement is that Ryan has knocked Obama off as the most talked about player in the election. While this isn’t completely surprising, seeing as the big announcement just happened last week, it’s great to see the Facebook data back it up. It’s also interesting that Biden is number three after Obama, but before Romney. In the report, which can be accessed on, they also look at the candidates Facebook growth. Obama’s in a strong lead with 27.8 million likes, but Ryan already has over 100,000 more likes than Biden. You can also see how the candidates likes breakdown by gender.

Lost Remote: How is CNN approaching publishing content from this partnership?

Michelle Jaconi: The partnership is truly cross-platform, taking advantage of one area in which both CNN and Facebook dominate: Reach. The partnership has a robust mobile app, editorial content and interactives online, and on television, as well as CNN’s Political Gut Check daily newsletter.

The Paul Ryan announcement was a great example of using technology to help tell a story instead of the reverse. We surveyed our Facebook users and integrated their live comments and feedback into our on air broadcast, while noting the political region most active surrounding the announcement.

LR: How is it a new social kind of reporting?

Jaconi: It is new mainly because there is no way we could do this in 2008 with the same penetration rate. There are 160 million monthly active users on Facebook in the United States. In 2008, there were 35 million monthly active users in America.

In layman’s terms: Facebook has now half of the US population in its networks. If that isn’t interesting politically, I don’t know what is? Especially when you take into account that people are most often influenced to vote by opinion leaders in their social circle, it makes this partnership intellectual candy.

Furthermore, this has been accurately called the first mobile election, and in politics that is what makes this interesting. It is always my goal to get out of Washington and learn from the American voter; and this allows us to engage and listen to American voters wherever we are.

LR: How many more of these stories will there be?

Jaconi: Facebook will be integrated into all our big convention, debate and election broadcasts and will be a consistent part of the digital story from here thru the election. As for the sweeping analytical pieces, we will write about the data every time it helps us tell a story.