The 2012 Republican primaries are moving along, and winning American voters online has become more critical than ever before. Recent studies show more than eight out of ten potential voters (82%) turn to the internet for information about the candidates. Now, candidates must do more than throw money at television advertisements–they must win over the digital constituency on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
A Holistic View of Political Online Landscape
As we wind our way towards a clear Republican candidate, and ultimately to the November election, search and social visibility online continues to shape voter opinion. Given how critical the online sphere is to the fight for the White House, Conductor decided to take a holistic view of the digital political landscape. With our distinctive technology in Searchlight, our enterprise SEO platform, we are uniquely positioned to report online search trends and search/social visibility of Republican primary candidates relative to each other, and relative to Presidential incumbent Barack Obama, providing us with a preview of what they can expect to face online as November draws closer.
Executive Summary: Romney Faces Online Challenges Against Obama
With Mitt Romney’s head start for the Republican nomination and deeper pockets to draw on, he is winning the battle for online mindshare, and with Santorum recently dropping out of the race he has all but locked up the Republican nomination. Although America searched for information about Santorum more often than other candidates and he made a recent surge online, increasing his social community, Google advertising spend, and search visibility at rates far greater than other candidates, Romney has done a better job of controlling his message online. In the end, Santorum’s recent last ditch efforts were not enough to overcome Romney’s lead in the delegate vote, but Romney will have a steep climb to beat Obama in the 2012 election for President, as Obama’s social following, search visibility and Google advertising spend dwarf that of Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul combined.
- Obama proves a tough challenge in the online general election season for likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Obama spends 2x as much on Google Advertising, has 8x more Facebook likes, and 5x more Twitter followers than all the Republican candidates combined.
- Mitt Romney has done the best job of the Republican candidates in controlling his online message; his official website appears on page one of the search results for online searches about him almost half the time, more often than the other candidates, and he has several times the Facebook ‘Likes’ of the other candidates.
- Although Rick Santorum recently dropped out of the race, he provoked more Google searches (51% more searches than Romney, and 79% more than Gingrich) and received the largest share of online news coverage in March at 35%.
Click the image below for the full-size infographic, and download the full study here.
Note: This study was covered by Mediapost on April 17th.