Hey, Republicans who are wondering how to get on top of the shifting demographics of the US electorate in the wake of this month’s Presidential elections: You might want to take a look at Facebook – and I don’t mean just to worry over the apparently-speedy defriending of Mitt Romney post-loss. According to new details gleaned from the election activity of its members, Facebook is apparently made up of young female democrats who, yes, really took notice of that whole “Binders Full of Women” thing.
In a post on the Facebook Data Science page entitled “The 2012 Election Day Through the Facebook Lens,” the company’s Eytan Bakshy looked into the breakdown of Facebook users who shared their voting habits for this election. “In total, over 9 million users said they were voting on Facebook,” Bakshy wrote. “We found that women were nearly twice as likely to say they voted as their male counterparts, which is in line with participation across other forms of communication on Facebook. We also found that Democrats were slightly more likely to say they voted on Facebook than Republicans, and both communicated their voting behavior more than people without a stated affiliation.”
Overall, women were twice as active as men in sharing political stories on Facebook, the Data Science team found, with that being the case no matter where the women were located. As it turns out, this isn’t necessarily as important as it may seem: “At first you might be drawn to the conclusion that for a number of reasons, this election caused women to be more motivated to go to the polls, and also more likely to broadcast this to their friends,” Bakshy wrote, before explaining that the reality is far simpler: “women are disproportionately more likely to share in general on Facebook.”
That normalization may not factor into the discrepancy between right- and left-leaning posters on the service. “We also see that liberal affiliations tend to be ahead of conservative ones,” Bakshy shared, with a chart demonstrating that “Stated Political Affiliation” on the site ranked “Barack Obama,” “Democratic,” “Liberal Democratic,” “Very Liberal,” “Liberal” and even “Green” above “Republican.” In fact, even “Libertarian” outshone “Republican” on Facebook, somewhat surprisingly.
Despite that, when the Facebook voting turnout is tracked with the most popular celebrities to be “liked” on the site, Barack Obama only scores third place… with Paul Ryan in second. First, handily beating both of them, is Michelle Obama, further demonstrating the First Lady’s standing with most Americans (Mitt Romney is significantly down the list, sadly, below Glenn Beck and twelve celebrities who have nothing to do with politics, including both Snooki and Flo, the Progressive Girl. Still, at least he was more popular than Adam Sandler).
Facebook’s Data Science team didn’t just track the people that its users liked; it also tracked the abstract concepts and fictional entities. Top in that list for those who shared that they voted on Facebook were two memes to emerge from the Presidential Election: “Binders Full of Women” and “Big Bird.” Take that, people who claim that debates don’t matter.