Is the vote in Ohio for President between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney really a choice between Michael Jackson and The Beatles? In a recent social data study by Arc 3 Communications of supporters for the two candidates for President, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, utilizing Facebook’s Wisdom app, it was revealed that despite a statistical deadlock in the polls, a cultural divide exists between the most ardent supporters for the two candidates for President in the state of Ohio.
With Ohio being the battleground state most likely to determine the Presidency, hundreds of traditional Presidential polls have been taken among Ohio voters to measure their candidate preferences. Polls have consistently reflected a very close race with the most recent poll by Rasmussen Reports reflecting a statistical tie among the candidates. However, through the use of Facebook social data, Arc 3 was able to identify a significant cultural divide among the most ardent Ohio supporters for the candidates for President that provides deeper insights into the race.
For the study, Arc 3 Communications examined the Facebook pages of the two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney 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 ideology and interests; sources for news; interests in music, television shows and authors; sports favorites; and consumer choices. Among the key findings in each category:
- Supporters of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have a four point variation along gender lines with more men supporting Romney and more women supporting Obama with slight variations in age and education level. However, significantly more supporters for Mitt Romney are married than supporters of Barack Obama.
- The Obama and Romney groups break out along ideological lines with Obama supporters self-identifying as liberal and Romney supporters identifying as conservative.
- Ohio supporters of the two candidates rely on very different news sources. Obama supporters’ favorite news source is National Public Radio, while Romney supporters prefer Fox News.
- In the area of entertainment tastes, the candidates’ supporters differ in favorite musician/band, television show and book author. The Obama supporters favorite musician/band is Michael Jackson, while the favorite musician/band among Romney supporters is The Beatles. Obama supporters favorite television program is The Family Guy, while Romney supporters program of choice is House. Favorite authors for Obama and Romney supporters are Maya Angelou and James Patterson respectively.
- A dichotomy exists in the preference for sports leagues – supporters of Obama are NBA fans, while Romney supporters are NFL fans. Obama supporters favorite sports team is the Cleveland Cavaliers , while Romney supporters favorite team is the Cincinnati Reds, with the Cleveland Browns being a very close second.
- Both sides tend to agree in the area of prominent consumer choices, with both groups most favorite food and beverage product being Starbucks and favorite retailer being Walmart. Favorite restuarant of choice among both groups is Subway.
While the many traditional polls conducted by various media outlets, universities and polling firms have left the American electorate stumped and full of trepidation as to the outcome of the race in Ohio, the additional layer of Facebook social data offers deeper insights into the race. The social data reveals preferences not only in ideology but attitudes toward cultural issues. Obama supporters clearly have cultural preferences indicative of urban tastes, while Romney supporters have cultural preferences indicative of suburban and exurban tastes. This points to and reaffirms the old adage in politics, that elections are truly about getting out the vote. If signs on election night point to high voter turnout in the urban areas of Ohio, such as Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Toledo’s Lucas County it may be a long night for Mitt Romney. However, if turnout is high in the suburban areas of Ohio such as Cincinnati’s Warren and Butler Counties and Columbus’ Delaware County, Romney may be the next President of the United States. With Ohio being decided by just 262,000 votes in 2008, it will be vital that each campaign turnout their base in those areas of the state where they are the strongest in order to win.
Arc 3 Facebook Social Data Study Tables
Political Interests (Most Likes)
|Obama for America Ohio
|Rep. Marcia L. Fudge
News Sources (Most Likes)
Entertainment Interests (Most Likes)
Sports Interests (Most Likes)
Consumer Interests (Most Likes)
|Retail and Consumer Merchandise