In the age of Facebook and Twitter popularity on social media matters as much as how much money is in the bank. Bernie Sanders wouldn’t even be an issue if it weren’t for social media, and the large organic crowds he brings in.
Look at Donald Trump as another example, he arguably has the most money of any candidate – yet has spent the least and gotten a lot further than any other candidate. Part of that is the mainstream media giving him extra air-time but the other part is his huge social media presence.
It’s obvious that social media followers matter, a University of Rochester study finds that losing followers also matters, especially if you have huge name recognition like Trump or Clinton.
The study covers a period of time from September 2015 to March 2016 and investigated the people that followed and unfollowed Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Researchers used profile images to group people by gender and age, and looked at the follower count for each user to determine their pull in social media.
“Our study shows that for both candidates followers with more social capital are more likely to leave (or switch camps). For both candidates, females make up a larger presence among unfollowers than among current followers….
Somewhat surprisingly, the effect is particularly pronounced for Clinton. Lastly, middle-aged individuals are more likely to leave Trump, and the young are more likely to leave Hillary Clinton.”
One interesting finding is that even though Trump has a major unfavorability rating with women (one poll cites 73%), Clinton has had more women unfollow her, than Trump. People who tend to unfollow Trump tend to be middle-aged, where Clinton loses younger female social media followers.
Clinton’s followers it appears have mainly gone to Bernie Sanders, while Trump’s opponents Kasich and Cruz were unable to gain many new followers.
“A considerable portion [of Clinton’s former followers] are now in the Bernie Sanders camp… Rather than switch to Ted Cruz or John Kasich, Trump unfollowers are actually more likely to be following the Democratic candidates.”
On average the majority of Clinton unfollowers were between the ages of 12 and 26, whereas for Trump it was 27 and 42.
Jiebo Luo the professor in charge of the study stated:
“Given the unfollowing patterns uncovered in our paper, we believe Mr. Trump, once he has clinched the nomination, must give his particular attention to win over/keep the middle-aged group, while Secretary Clinton must work hard to win over younger voters, in order to do well in the General Election…
It’s true that not all following translates into strong preference. On the other hand, unfollowing clearly indicates disappointment, disagreement, and disapproval.”
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