STUDY: Which GOP Members Have Positive Social Media Buzz?

By Megan O'Neill 

When it comes to politics, topping the social media buzz charts doesn’t always mean you’re topping the polls, and nobody knows this better than Rick Perry.  Social media monitoring platform Fizziology reports that Rick Perry is the most buzzed-about 2012 GOP candidate by a landslide, but he is also the candidate responsible for the largest share of negative buzz.  Read on to find out more.

Earlier this month, from December 7-13, Fizziology measured the social media buzz surrounding each of the 2012 GOP candidates using Facebook, Twitter and a sampling of blogs.  They shared their data with us.  Rick Perry led in relevant social media mentions with 221,296 mentions in a week, followed by Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Michele Bachmann.  Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman closed out the list with the least number of relevant social media mentions.

Over the course of his campaign, Rick Perry has proven himself to be a master of rallying negative social media buzz (it’s sometimes hard to believe he isn’t doing it on purpose!).  The social world, as well as Perry himself, has guffawed at his speeches-gone-wrong for months now.  But the real negative buzz began when Perry released his ‘Strong’ campaign, in which he said, “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

The video, which has over 7 million views on YouTube and a whopping 701,903 dislikes, sparked more negative buzz for Perry than ever before, and it was during the week of the video’s release that Fizziology put together it’s stats.  They report that, “Not only did this ad rain negativity upon Perry in social media, it also provided many people with content to create parodies of the video.  With this ad dominating conversation, his supporters were quiet, with very few if any signs of encouragement.  His negatives were 75% with only 7% positives—the worst sentiment mix of the candidates.”

While Perry was taking the brunt of negative social media heat, Ron Paul’s positive social media buzz was surging.  Fizziology reports that, “His positives of 59% and negatives of 8% show that he might be surprisingly strong in the Caucuses—especially as his base is currently the most passionate in social media.”

Not surprisingly, it seems that when politicians make known their more “unpopular” opinions then we see an increase in negative buzz.  While Rick Perry saw the largest increase in negative buzz, thanks to his ‘Strong’ ad campaign, Fizziology reports that other candidates saw similar trends (though on a much smaller scale) as a result of their own unpopular opinions.  Bachman and Santorum saw more negative chatter than usual, due to anti-gay comments and Newt Gingrich also saw a spike in negatives (up to 47%).  Fizziology reports that, “Driving the negatives were his comments about Palestinians being an ‘invented people’ and the perceived hypocrisy around his signing of the ‘Marriage Vow.’”

It will certainly be interesting to see how negative and positive buzz surrounding the candidates takes off and changes as we get closer to the Iowa caucus on January 3 and as the 2012 caucuses and primaries take place over the coming months, as well as how social media buzz compares to actual voting results.

Image credit: Christopher Halloran via Shutterstock

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.