New data show Obama ahead in social-media race

Charles Dharapak/AP

If the presidential race were based on Facebook fan engagement, President Obama would be far ahead of his likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney, according to a report released on Thursday.

While Romney led his competitors for the GOP presidential nod, the social-media analytics firm Socialbakers found that Obama appears to be winning the social-media race in the head-to-head matchup against his likely Republican opponent in the fall.

Data from May show that nearly five times as many people on Facebook are talking about Obama than Romney. Obama also gained four and a half times as many new Facebook fans in May as Romney did, 620,000 to 120,000. In all, Obama has 26.9 million Facebook "likes," compared with just 1.8 million for Romney.

“It will be interesting to see how that correlates to the election results in November," Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab said in a statement.

While the firm didn’t measure engagement on Twitter, Obama appears to be more popular on the micro-blogging site as well. As of Thursday morning, Obama had 16.5 million Twitter followers, compared with 552,000 for Romney.

Socialbakers also found that social-media users appear to be less moved by negative advertising. “Facebook users were far more engaged with positive posts highlighting successes, accomplishments, or even revealing a glimpse of the candidates' private lives than they were the standard campaign rhetoric,” the firm said.

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