Presidential Facebook likes are rapidly becoming a new measure of a candidate’s following. Hillary Clinton announced Friday that she had reached one million likes. Rand Paul announced last month that he had reached two million, and had more likes than any other candidate. As discussed at that time, Facebook likes may not be a great measure of anything — people follow candidates on Facebook for a number of reason, including comic relief and watching the “enemy.” Still, likes give a peek at who is being watched.
Clinton’s “like” achievement does make her the most-followed Democratic candidate at this point. Still, growth is an important factor too, so let’s look at the change since the last month. In the list below, the first number represents June 7 followers, and the second is July 3. (The list has been trimmed to those candidates whose Facebook likes number in at least thousands.)
Rand Paul (R) — 2 million; 2 million
Ben Carson (R) — 1.4 million; 1.6 million
Ted Cruz (R) — 1.2 million; 1.2 million
Rick Perry (R) — 1.1 million; 1.1 million
Hillary Clinton (D) — 873,000; 1 million
Marco Rubio (R) — 875,000; 904,000
Bernie Sanders (D) 534,000; 728,000
Rick Santorum (R) — 216,000; 262,000
Lindsey Graham (R) — 112,000; 118,000
Martin O’Malley (D) — 70,000; 72,000
Carly Fiorina (R) — 60,000; 99,000
George Pataki (R) — 15,000; 16,000
Mark Everson (R) — 1,500; 1,691
Lincoln Chaffee (D) — 643; 7,979
Three indiviuals who were “might-runs” last month have officially declared. Their Facebook stats follow:
Donald Trump (R) — 1.6 million; 2 million
Chris Christie (R) — 104,000; 110,000
Jeb Bush (R) — 178,000; 210,000
Some observations about the data above:
- Bernie Sanders’ Facebook following has increased by almost the exact same number as Hillary Clinton. (She has only about 4,000 more new followers than him.)
- Lincoln Chaffee has seen the largest increase in likes, as a percentage, but Trump has grown the most new likes overall, with around 400,000 new followers.
- Last month, Rand Paul was proud to have the most Facebook likes of any presidential candidate, but Donald Trump (despite his recent controversy) now matches him, and is considered a front-runner in some polls.
- Despite losing some of his following for comments about race and the Confederate flag, Lindsey Graham has still seen a slight increase.
- The five candidates with the most Facebook likes are all Republicans. They aren’t quite the same ones as last month though — Trump has edged almost everyone else down, and Rubio has fallen behind Clinton.
- A handful of presidential candidates, including some of the best-known, have seen no discernible change in Facbook following: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry.
Again, it’s unlikely that Presidential Facebook likes are on their way to replacing straw polls, especially when there are tales of candidates paying crowds to cheer at political rallies. (After all, Facebook likes can be bought, too.) Still, Presidential Facebook likes do give a glimpse at who is being watched, and are especially interesting as the candidates themselves use them as a metric for their popularity.
[Photo by:Scott Olson/Getty Images]