While social media may not be able to predict election outcomes particularly accurately, it can provide a lot of insight into a campaign, even at this early stage.
New data from Engagement Labs shows which candidates are performing well across multiple social sites.
Engagement Labs gathered data on candidate performance from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram between June 22 and July 15.
Overall the top candidates are Mike Huckabee on Facebook, Bernie Sanders on Twitter and YouTube, and Donald Trump on Instagram. These findings could provide a new snapshot of the political leanings of social networks, but the findings are similar in some cases to study data issued by The Harvard Institute of Politics last year.
Less important that the actual candidates, this data shows us post/engagement statistics of these social networks as it relates to political parties. Four of the top five candidates on Facebook are republicans, while two of the top three candidates on Twitter and Instagram were democrats.
Success in the 2016 presidential campaign could come down to how well a candidate can pitch their message on various social networks, and this data demonstrates that some are already better than others at attracting specific audiences.
For example, Rick Perry is ranked ninth on Facebook, but second on YouTube. Bobby Jindal only appears on the Instagram list, while Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum don’t even place on the top 10 for Instagram.
Democrats also have some platform specific problems: Only three candidates made an impact enough to get noticed on YouTube, but other fared much better on other networks.
Overall, Facebook seems to lean conservative in this data, while Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube lean democratic. Candidates with high name recognition, like Trump, seem to race to the top of the polls. It’s much too early to say we can pick a winner for 2016, but we could see changes in advertising habits or campaign tactics based on data like this in the months to come.