Mitt Romney favorite GOP candidate (among email spammers)


Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney may be on the fast track to the Republican nomination for the 2012 US presidential election. But his high profile has earned him another, less brag-worthy, title: King of political spam.

Cybersecurity firm BitDefender analyzed 8 million unsolicited spam messages for everything from fake pharmaceuticals to bogus deals, and found that Romney is mentioned in 45 percent of those that reference US politics. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trailed his fellow GOP candidate with a 33 percent appearance rate in spam emails, while Texas congressman Ron Paul came in third, with 12.18 percent. Strangely, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who is basically tied with Romney in number of primaries won, was not mentioned in the study.

Outside the list of Republican presidential candidates, Bill Clinton was the most-mentioned political figure, appearing in spam 3.99 percent of the time. President Obama didn’t even make the list. (Weird.)

“Winning Most-Mentioned Politician in Bitdefender’s spam survey is probably not an honor that many politicians want,” said Bitdefender E-Threats Analyst Bogdan Botezatu, who coordinated the spam study. “And I don’t think we’ll see spammers suddenly turning into political pundits. But the results could tell us which politicians spammers think are most likely to get a reaction from random e-mail readers. Spammers are, ultimately, after money and they’re essentially making a bet on popularity when they favor one politician’s name over another.”

Unfortunately, this is the first year BitDefender has conducted such a study, so we can’t make any concrete assumption about whether Romney has a lock on the GOP nomination. Another factor that may make this study a poor indicator of political victory: Only 0.24 percent (or 19,200) of the 8 million emails BitDefender analyzed mentioned politics at all. Instead spammers overwhelmingly prefer regular ol’ celebrities, like Eva Longoria, Kobe Bryant, Jay Leno and Rush Limbaugh.

[Image via Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock]