Was the Metro Atlanta Regional T-SPLOST referendum vote a choice between NPR and Fox News? In a recent social data study by Arc 3 Communications of supporters and opponents of the Metro Atlana Regional T-SPLOST referendum utilizing Facebook’s Wisdom app, it was revealed that a cultural divide existed between the most ardent supporters for and against the Metro Atlanta Regional T-SPLOST referendum.
Many traditional polls had been taken showing a partisan divide among voters for the regional T-SPLOST referendum. However, through the use of Facebook social data, Arc 3 was able to identify not only a partisan divide, but a cultural divide as well among the most ardent supporters for and against the referendum. This data shows a significant cultural divide on regional policy issues.
For the study, Arc 3 Communications examined the Facebook pages of the two most prominent pro and against T-SPLOST campaigns, Untie Atlanta (Citizens for Transportation Mobility) and Traffic Truth (Transportation Leadership Coalition) utilizing Facebook Wisdom app’s detailed demographic profile data and breakdown of page likes. Arc 3 analyzed Facebook Wisdom Network data on basic demographics; political party identification and interests; sources for news; interests in music, movies and authors; sports favorites; and consumer choices. Among the key findings in each category:
- Supporters and opponents of the T-SPLOST referendum were evenly divided along gender lines with variation among age and education level. Significantly more of the opponents of the T-SPLOST were married than the supporters of the T-SPLOST.
- Consistent with polling data, the T-SPLOST groups broke out along partisan lines with pro-SPLOST forces showing Democratic leanings and opponents of the T-SPLOST being Republican.
- Supporters and opponents of the T-SPLOST relied on very different news sources. T-SPLOST supporters’ favorite news source was National Public Radio, while opponents preferred Fox News.
- In area of entertainment tastes, T-SPLOST supporters and opponents differed in television, movies and tastes in book authors. T-SPLOST supporters’ favorite program was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, while opponents program of choice was House on the Fox Network.
- While a dichotomy existed in preference for sports leagues – supporters of T-SPLOST were NFL fans, while opponents were NASCAR fans- both groups agreed that the Atlanta Braves was their favorite sports team.
- Both sides tended to agree in the area of prominent consumer choices, with both groups most favorite food and beverage product having been Chick-Fil-a, and favorite retailer having been Target.
The partisan divide between advocates and opponents of the T-SPLOST was clearly evident in this Facebook study as it had been in traditional polling. However the social data reveals a much deeper story showing the cultural preferences that were identifiers not only of partisanship but also attitudes toward regionalism and policymaking. T-SPLOST opponents clearly had cultural preferences indicative of more suburban living, while the T-SPLOST supporters had more urban cultural preferences. This may have been at the heart of the transportation policy debate over what the Atlanta region should look like.
Arc 3 Facebook Social Data Study Tables
Political Interests (Most Likes)
|Democratic Party of Georgia
|Republican National Committee
News Sources (Most Likes)
|The New Yorker
Entertainment Interests (Most Likes)
|The Daily Show
|Atlas Shrugged The Movie
Sports Interests (Most Likes)
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Consumer Interests (Most Likes)
|Retail and Consumer Merchandise
|St. Regis Atlanta
|Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
Note: Untie Atlanta Facebook page analysis included analysis of Untie Clayton, Untie Cobb, Untie Cherokee, Untie Dekalb, Untie Douglas, Untie Gwinnett, Untie Fayette, Untie Fulton, Untie Henry, and Untie Rockdale Facebook pages