The last time I looked at Virginia candidates’ social media followings was back on April 9, about a month before the VA GOP convention, and about two months before the VA Dem primary on June 8. Sot it’s been a while. Anyway, I was curious to see if there was any correlation between candidates’ social media numbers and how they’re performing in the polls, or how they actually performed in the May 8 VA GOP “unassembled convention.” First, the Republicans:
- Glenn Youngkin, who won the VA GOP gubernatorial nomination, was in fifth place among Republican gubernatorial candidates on Twitter, with just 2,477 followers as of 4/9, and in third place on Facebook, with just 5,772 followers. Weird that with all his money (he’s worth like $300-$350 million!), he didn’t put some of it into cranking up his social media followers. Wonder why not?!?
- Pete Snyder, who finished second (behind Youngkin), was in second place among Republican gubernatorial candidates on Twitter (at 7,518 followers), and in first place among Republicans on Facebook (at 13,835). Again, he had a lot of money and could have cranked this up more. Why didn’t he? Plus, he was the founder of “New Media Strategies,” which was a pioneer in digital media “back in the day,” so you think he’d be great in this space, but…meh, not really in this case.
- Amanda Chase, who finished third in the VA GOP convention, was in first place among Republican gubernatorial candidates on Twitter (at 8,681 followrs), and would have been in first place on Facebook (at around 150k followers), except her account was suspended. The question is, how much – if at all – did getting suspended from Facebook, where she was dominant, hurt her?
- Kirk Cox, who finished fourth in the VA GOP convention, was in fourth place among Republican gubernatorial candidates on Twitter (at 6,324 followers) and in second place on Facebook (at 12,343 followers). Overall, by the way, Cox really isn’t very good at social media, at least not for a Republican audience…just doesn’t have the personality for it, and the content (Cox eating hot dogs!) was far from exciting.
- Among Republican LG candidates, Tim Hugo (who finished second) was in first place on Twitter (at 4,593 followers) and third on Facebook (at 5,598 followers); Glenn Davis (who finished third) was in second place on Twitter (at 2,759 followers) and first place on Facebook (at 16,090 followers); and Winsome Sears (who won the nomination) was waaaaay back on Twitter (at just 475 followers) and Facebook (just 1,692 followers). As you can see, there’s definitely *not* a good correlation between their social media followings and their orders of finish in the convention.
- Among Republican AG candidates, Jason Miyares (who finished first by a nose) was roughly tied on Twitter and Facebook with Chuck Smith (who finished in second, just behind Miyares).
Bottom line: For governor and LG, there’s zero evidence of any correlation between Republicans’ social media followings and their order of finish in the 5/8 VA GOP convention. For AG, the two leading candidates were very close on social media, so maybe some correlation there?
How about Democrats?
- Terry McAuliffe, who leads (by far) on PredictIt and in polling in the gubernatorial race, was in second place on Twitter among Democratic gubernatorial candidates (with 72,243 followers on 4/9), and in first place among Democrats on Facebook (with 100,634 followers on 4/9). Today, McAuliffe’s at 73,215 followers on Twitter (slightly up from 4/9), putting him in third place among Dem gubernatorial candidates; and 100,950 followers on Facebook (also slightly up from 4/9), putting him first place among Dem gubernatorial candidates.
- Jennifer Carroll Foy, who is far behind on PredictIt and in polling, was in third place on Twitter back on 4/9 among Democratic gubernatorial candidates (with 35,784 followers), and in third place on Facebook on 4/9 among Dems (with 10,300 followers). Today, Carroll Foy is at 112,265 Twitter followers (WAY up from 4/9), putting her just barely in first place (ahead of Lee Carter) among Democratic gubernatorial candidates; and at 11,322 followers on Facebook (up a bit from 4/9), leaving her in third place among Dem gubernatorial candidates.
- Jennifer McClellan, who is also far behind on PredictIt and in polling, was in fifth place on Twitter back on 4/9 among Democratic gubernatorial candidates (with 16,140 followers), and in fourth place on Facebook on 4/9 among Dems (with 8,123 followers). Today, McClellan is at 17,615 Twitter followers (up a bit from 4/9, but still in fifth place among Dem gubernatorial candidates); and 8,673 Facebook followers (up a bit from 4/9, but still in fourth place among Dem gubernatorial candidates).
- Justin Fairfax, who is also far behind on PredictIt and in polling, was in fourth place on Twitter back on 4/9 among Democratic gubernatorial candidates (with 31,093 followers), and in second place on Facebook on 4/9 among Dems (with 23,744 followers). Today, Fairfax is at 30,968 Twitter followers (down slightly from 4/9), putting him in fourth place among Dem gubernatorial candidates; and at 23,786 Facebook followers (up very slightly from 4/9), putting him in second place among Dem gubernatorial candidates (behind Terry McAuliffe).
- Lee Carter, who also trails far behind on PredictIt and in polling, was in first place on Twitter (110,639 followers) among Dem gubernatorial candidates back on April 9, but in fifth place among Dems on Facebook (6,288 followers). Today, Carter has 112,121 followers on Twitter (up slightly from 4/9), putting him in second place among Dem gubernatorial candidates; and 6,401 followers on Facebook (again, slightly up from 4/9), leaving him in fifth place among Dem gubernatorial candidates.
So again, there seems to be minimal if any apparent correlation between social media followings and positions in the polls or on PredictIt for Dem gubernatorial candidates. The only thing you might say is that McAuliffe has the strongest combined social media (both Twitter and Facebook), with Jennifer Carroll Foy in second place and Lee Carter just behind her in third place. Does that mean much of anything? Hard to say…
- Dems’ LG contest: There’s little if any polling on the Democratic LG race, but according to PredictIt, it’s a two-way race between Sam Rasoul and Hala Ayala. How are they doing on social media? Sean Perryman remains well in the lead on Twitter (with 71,242 followers, up a bit since 4/9), with Sam Rasoul still in second place (with 14,263 followers, up a bit since 4/9), and with Hala Ayala still in third place (with 12,685 followers, up a bit since 4/9), then Mark Levine (2,893 followers), Andria McClellan (2,101 followers) and Xavier Warren (384 followers). On Facebook, Sam Rasoul’s at 12,955 followers; Andria McClellan’s at 4,511 followers; Mark Levine’s at 3,887 followers; Hala Ayala’s at 3,798 followers; Xavier Warren’s at 2,531 followers; Sean Perryman’s at 1,485 followers. So…there’s really not a great correlation here, really, and also a big difference between Twitter and Facebook followings in at least one case (Sean Perryman).
- Dems’ AG contest: Finally, there’s not a ton of polling (and no PredictIt market) among Dem AG candidates, with the latest from the Wason Center (back on 4/22) showing Mark Herring up 42%-18% over Jay Jones. As for social media followings, Herring dominated Jones on Facebook and Twitter back on 4/9. Today, Herring has 43,895 Twitter followers to Jay Jones’ 5,960 Twitter followers. And on Facebook, Herring has 60,920 followers vs. Jones’ 4,138 on Facebook. So actually, there’s a pretty good correlation here between polling and social media followers…Herring leading significantly in both…
P.S. It’s interesting to see where candidates put their most effort and attention when it comes to social media. For instance, Lee Carter is heavily focused on Twitter, as is Jennifer Carroll Foy (she’s built her Twitter following substantially, with frequent pushes for retweets, likes, etc.), while Amanda Chase was overwhelmingly focused on Facebook. There are also a bunch of candidates who simply aren’t showing up to “play” on social media, and/or aren’t good at it…