Who Will Win the Election Tomorrow? Obama by a Landslide*!

*If online engagement metrics are any indication!

Election Day 2012 is tomorrow – will President Barack Obama get another four years? Or will Republican challenger Mitt Romney take the win?

Political wonks may know that statistician Nate Silver has predicted a win for Obama based on election polls and public opinion polls. I was curious if the Internet presence of the two respective candidates pointed to the same outcome. So I ran some quick numbers to look at Obama and Romney’s spending on paid search advertising (political campaign ads on Google search and the Google Display Network), their website traffic, and their social media presence (including Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube subscribers).

Based on what I found, I predict that Obama will win by a landslide on Nov. 6, 2012. Obama is well in the lead in every category that I looked at. Romney does not have a sophisticated Internet marketing presence compared to Obama, suggesting that:

  • Romney has been getting less exposure in the crucial weeks leading up to Election Day
  • Obama has a more passionate voter base, at least in online communities

It’s possible that Romney has been making up the difference in other forms of campaign spending – by buying more TV spots, for example. But in the past, I’ve predicted election outcomes based on social media “polling” alone, and I think these numbers speak volumes. Now, I’m no Obama fan, but I’d put my money on him tomorrow at the polls.

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Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Obama vs. Romney: Paid Search Advertising Spend

Barack Obama appears to be spending about $4.4k to $13.1k / day on Google Search. Mitt Romney appears to be spending about  $3.4k to $6.3k / day on Google Search. In other words, Obama is spending up to twice as much on Google search advertising as Romney. These are just estimates based on traffic and cost per click estimates, but even if the exact numbers are off, the difference is big. (I used the same method to estimate daily spending for both candidates.)

As for the Google Display Network, Barack Obama appears to be spending about $6.0k / day on Google Display Advertising (banner ads) while Mitt Romney appears to be spending about $2.3k / day on Google Display Advertising. So Obama is spending almost three times as much as Romney on Google Display. Display ads are terrific for increasing awareness and building your brand, both of which are key when it comes to rallying and growing your voter base, so Obama could be getting tons of leverage out of this advertising spend.

Presidential PPC Campaign Spending

Obama vs. Romney: Online Engagement Metrics

What about other online engagement metrics, like website traffic and social media following? Obama is kicking the pants off Romney in every category I looked at:

Obama vs. Romney Internet Presence

To summarize this data:

  • Barack Obama has almost three times as many Facebook fans as Mitt Romney (31 million to Romney’s 11 million).
  • Obama has had over three times as many website viewers in October 2012 as Romney, at 8.6 million viewers compared to 2.6 million for the Republican candidate.
  • Obama has more than 13 times as many Twitter followers as Romney, with nearly 22 million compared to Romney’s measly 1.6 million Twitter followers.
  • Obama has nine times as many YouTube subscribers and nine times as many YouTube video views.
  • The internet reach of Obama’s website is more than double that of Romney’s website.

Here’s an illustration of the respective reach of Obama’s website (barackobama.com) versus Romney’s website (mittromney.com). By reach, we mean the estimated percentage of global internet users who have visited a particular site.

Obama vs. Romney 2012

The red line represents Obama’s website reach. It’s significantly higher with more big spikes than Romney’s.

Obama-Related Search Queries More Likely to Be Personalized?

A recent Wall Street Journal article points out that Google “often customizes the results of people who have recently searched for ‘Obama’—but not those who have recently searched for ‘Romney.'”

Here’s how it works: When a user searches for the name Obama, Google includes links about President Barack Obama in subsequent searches on terms such as “Iran,” “Medicare” and “gay marriage.” The altered results are labeled in gray type: “you recently searched for Obama.” Testers searching for “Romney,” however, didn’t see customized links containing Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney’s name in their subsequent search results.

This isn’t based on human judgment or invertention but rather algorithms. In other words, it means that more people are looking for information about Obama’s stance on Iran, Medicare and gay marriage than Romney’s views on the same topics. Again, this could be construed as an indication that web users are more engaged with Obama.

In Summary: Who Will Win the 2012 Presidential Election Tomorrow?

This isn’t 1994. In this day and age, when everyone and their grandma is on Facebook and has an iPhone, Internet presence really matters. Romney’s relatively weak Internet presence and comparatively low spending on online marketing channels could be very bad news for the Republican party.

Based on the available Internet marketing data, I predict that Barack Obama will win by a landslide tomorrow. You can quote me on that!

Discuss This Article

Comments: 13

  • Arminda says:

    I strongly agree that Obama will win this year’s election!

  • John says:

    Many of the statistics you bring up are not relevant such as facebook friends or twitter followers. You do realize that there is a massive number of people that follow the president on those social media sites, simply because he is the president.

  • John says:

    Also how many of those followers are under the voting age and therefore have no sway in the election?

  • James says:

    Obama may win… but if you think its going to be a landslide, you are to dumb to be writing articles. Everything (except your scewed oppinion) says its going to be VERY close.

  • Carol says:

    I think it is a close and tight race. It’s going to be very close. I know several people who have never voted before and have registered to vote this time because they can’t see going another 4 years with Obama. America needs a chance and a change.

  • Dee says:

    Well no kidding Obama has more more friends, followers and website views! He’s the president. So of course he is better known and going to be more closely followed. That is completely irrelevant.

    • Hunley93 says:

      Completely agree. And the youtube subscribers? Obama’s been in the public eye like 5 years longer than Romney. This argument pretty much collapsed on itself.

  • Bob says:

    I have news for you…there is a large block of dedicated voters (read senior citizens) who likely have minimal or no internet-based activity so I don’t believe that indicates a true sampling of the entire voting demographic.

  • Stella says:

    I am very glad I came across this article, for I was in fact very curious about their respective internet reaches yesterday. It is extremely clear that Obama’s side is well executed and well thought out. I work in promoting through social media– and while some may question your analysis, I cannot stress how important an internet presence is in regards to establishing your brand. Today Obama has a giant ad at the top of YouTube. This is an amazing marketing tactic, and his team who is behind this deserves applause. Everything of Romney’s is subpar and it is clear that there is little time, money and effort going into establishing himself through various social media outlets and paid internet advertisements. The person writing this article is not DUMB. In fact James, I find that to be you. Close election my ass–anyone with common sense should be able to discern that Obama’s plans are done for the benefit of the countries longevity in the long term… while Romney just wants to be president to benefit himself and no one else. Any middle class voter rooting for him will get bitten in the ass.

  • Whitney says:

    I don’t know who will win the election, but you’re not really looking at how long Obama has been around. He’s been in the headlines for four years. Compare that to how long Romney has been on the map and you may find different answers. Obama has had much more exposure and has gone through two elections to get “facebook fans.” Romney hasn’t had as much time in the spotlight. And unfortunately that’s what government has turned into, a game of who is more famous. People are going to vote for the trend.

  • Alex says:

    This is pure nonsense.
    Look at the GOP constituency — on what planet do you think these people are connected in any way to social media? You’re talking about trailer-park country in the Deep South, and shacks in the hinterlands of the Far West and Central Plains states.
    These people believe the earth was created 6000 years ago, and that humankind once ran with dinosaurs.
    Trust me, they’re not on Twitter or Facebook. They’re the blue-collars workers crunched by the economic recession, who honestly think the one-time boss of Bain Capital will get them their jobs back.

  • MamaLicious says:

    We Also have to remember that Mitt Romney just became known in public more. like a new music artist , he’s gonna have less facebooks friends and followers then the one thats been there for a long time. (Obama)

  • tyrone says:

    I just pray that who ever wins the election will bring good to the people..

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