Home 2017 Races With 93 Days Until the Election, Who’s Winning the Social Media Battle?

With 93 Days Until the Election, Who’s Winning the Social Media Battle?


With just 93 days until the 2017 general election here in Virginia, how are the statewide candidates and parties doing on social media — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram? See below for some stats, followed by a few takeaways…

Twitter Followers: 36.2k for Ed Gillespie (also 3,507 on his “Team Gillespie” account); 21.1k for Ralph Northam (also 6,253 on his LG account)
Facebook Likes: 103,989 likes for Ed Gillespie; 18,698 likes for Ralph Northam (also 6,549 on his LG page)
Facebook Videos Posted Since 6/13: 27 videos for Ed Gillespie; 19 videos for Ralph Northam
Facebook Video Views Since 6/13: 258k views for Ed Gillespie; 195k for Ralph Northam
YouTube Videos Since 6/13: 13 videos for Ed Gillespie; 13 videos for Ralph Northam
YouTube Video Views Since 6/13: ~10.5k views for Ed Gillespie; ~4.3k views for Ralph Northam
Takeaways: Gillespie is beating Northam on Twitter by a nearly 2:1 margin; Gillespie is wayyy ahead (almost 6:1) of Northam in terms of Facebook “likes,” also leading in terms of Facebook video views; both Northam and Gillespie are using YouTube, are tied in the number of videos but with Gillespie leading in video views.

Twitter Followers: 5,740 for Justin Fairfax; 2,639 for Jill Vogel
Facebook Likes: 34,281 for Jill Vogel; 8,081 for Justin Fairfax
Facebook Videos Posted Since 6/13: 24 videos for Jill Vogel; 1 video for Justin Fairfax
Facebook Video Views Since 6/13: 41.8k for Jill Vogel; 477 views for Justin Fairfax
YouTube Videos Since 6/13: No videos for Justin Fairfax; no videos for Jill Vogel
YouTube Video Views Since 6/13: No views for Justin Fairfax; no views for Jill Vogel
Takeaways: Vogel is dominating on Facebook in terms of “likes,” videos and video views; Fairfax is leading on Twitter by a more than 2:1 margin; neither is using YouTube.

Twitter Followers: 17.6k for Mark Herring (also 8,446 for his AG account); 1,229 for John Adams.
Facebook Likes: 54,512 for Mark Herring (plus 6,045 for his AG account); 15,712 for John Adams
Facebook Videos Posted Since 6/13: 9 videos for John Adams; 3 videos for Mark Herring
Facebook Video Views Since 6/13: 37.2k views for Mark Herring; 18.4k for John Adams
YouTube Videos Since 6/13: 1 video for John Adams; no videos for Mark Herring
YouTube Video Views Since 6/13: 57 views for John Adams; no views for Mark Herring
Takeaways: Herring is dominating on Twitter and Facebook in terms of “likes”; Adams has posted more Facebook videos since 6/13 but Herring has more views; neither really uses YouTube.

Twitter Followers: 19.4k for the VA Dems; 11.7k for the VA GOP
Facebook Likes: 35,450 for the VA GOP; 29,750 for the VA Dems
Facebook Videos Posted Since 6/13: 19 for the VA GOP; 2 for the VA Dems
Facebook Video Views Since 6/13: 150k for the VA GOP; 4.6k for the VA Dems
YouTube Videos Since 6/13: 20 videos for the VA Dems;  2 videos for the VA GOP
YouTube Video Views Since 6/13: Just over 200 views each for the VA Dems and VA GOP
Takeaways: Virginia Dems ahead on Twitter, trailing on Facebook in terms of “likes,” trailing badly in terms of Facebook videos and views; neither using YouTube effectively.

P.S. Instagram basically isn’t being used by the political parties, the gubernatorial candidates, the AG candidates or by Republican LG candidate Jill Vogel. Justin Fairfax has posted a few images on Instagram, but has only 52 followers.

  • John Barkaharver

    One note, it’s well-known that Facebook video views are a complete farcical statistic. Facebook only tracks 3 second views (meaning the time it takes you to scroll one page would count, even if you never saw the video), while YouTube requires more than 2/3s length of the video view.


    • Karl Taylor


      facebook registers views greater than 3 seconds, too, it’s just that a view is counted after three seconds of viewing the content. (that’s not counting the scroll, just the time you dwell on the post.) in addition, you have access to view metrics at different thresholds of completion. in practice, you might see a high number of 3-second engagements followed by a sharp drop off at 9. that tells you that a video wasn’t particularly engaging.

      you can read more about that here: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Coming-Soon-Video-Metrics

      further, there’s a difference between “impressions” and “reach” on facebook. reach measures the # of people you’ve reached, whereas an impression is an opportunity for an ad to be shown.


      tl:dr:; it’s not really a vanity metric, the two platforms are set up to care about different things.