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As Election Day nears, candidates for elected office across the country are using Facebook to communicate and engage authentically with voters as well as organize supporters in ways unimaginable a decade ago. As you plan your daily political coverage, we hope you'll consider including our campaign watchers' snapshots of House, Senate, and Gubernatorial contenders that are making the most of Facebook. This week, we'll be serving up races to watch and Facebook data for the House (Tuesday), Senate (Wednesday) and Governorships (Thursday). We encourage others to delve deeper into the data to identify trends and issues. One blog, AllFacebook.com, has used some of our data to create a visualization of competitive House, Senate and Gubernatorial races across the country.
Race of the Day
8th District in North Carolina: Litmus Test for Social Media?
The race between Rep. Larry Kissell (D) and challenger Harold Johnson (R) in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District has been called one of the closest and most important House races this year. In 2008, Kissell beat a five-term Republican incumbent by 11 percentage points but recent polls show that the race between Kissell and Johnson is nearly a dead heat. The candidates have waged similar strategies when it comes to traditional media. Both have raised nearly the same amount of cash ($955,000 for Kissell compared to $946,000 for Johnson), and have attracted outside money from other groups that has led to competitive television and print advertising and marketing campaigns. But the strategic similarities end when you enter the online world. Kissell's social media presence on Facebook is nearly non-existent while Johnson has been very aggressive on his Facebook page. Johnson holds a nearly three-to-one edge in Facebook fans as he has more than 2,200 fans while Kissell only has 831. When it comes to communicating with supporters, Johnson is outpacing Kissell as well. Kissell's campaign has not posted a message to fans in more than three weeks. Meanwhile, Johnson has averaged more than three Wall posts per day over the past week and has written in-depth commentary, via the Notes tab, three times in the last
two weeks. In addition, Johnson offers the opportunity for his supporters to donate money and volunteer, while Kissell does not. Dr. J. Michael Bitzer, an associate professor of political science and history at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC recently wrote: "If Kissell hangs on, it will be one of the key victories to keeping the Democrats in control of the US House of Representatives. If he loses, it's a sign that conservative Democrats in the South need life support." With both sides using such divergent social media strategies, perhaps this race will be a litmus test for the power of social media as well.
Just the Data
Gaining Momentum (Largest increase of fans since last week) 1. Michele Bachmann (Republican/Minnesota 6th District) + 3184 2. Allen West (Republican/Florida 22nd District) +1153 3. Jon Runyan (Republican/New Jersey 3rd District) +472 4. Keith Fimian (Republican/Virginia 11th District) +449 5. Mike Grimm (Republican/New York 13th District) +321 Top Landslides (Biggest fan gap between opponents) 1. Minnesota 6th District: Rep. Bachmann (R) + 105,225 more fans than Tarryl Clark (D) 2. Florida 22nd District: Allen West (R) +36,827 more fans than Rep. Ron Klein (D) 3. Florida 8th District: Rep. Alan Grayson (D) +25,884 more fans than Daniel Webster (R) 4. South Carolina 2nd District: Rep. Joe Wilson (R) +17,293 more fans than Rob Miller (D) 5. Virginia 2nd District: Scott Rigell (R) +7,958 more fans than Glenn Nye (D) Top Posters (Most campaign wall posts in the past week) 1. Jesse Kelly (Republican/Arizona 8th District) - 64 2. IlarioPantano (Republican/North Carolina 7th District) - 56 3. Martha Roby (Republican/Alabama 2nd District) - 54 4. Rep. Charles Djou (Republican/Hawaii 1st District) - 53 5. Colleen Hanabusa (Democrat/Hawaii 1st District) - 51 U.S. Politics on Facebook Don't forget to check out our U.S. Politics on Facebook page for the latest social media insights from the campaign trail. Sincerely, The Facebook Political Team