Social Media’s Impact on the Midterm Elections

By Anthony Calabrese, Mashable

Social media is changing the face of democracy in the U.S., and Facebook is leading the way. The 2010 congressional elections were just the latest example of how the social web is driving real-world change in ways the founding fathers never dreamed of.

On Facebook, more than 12 million people used the “I voted” button this year compared with the 5.4 million who used it in 2008, according to data from Facebook’s U.S. Politics Page. To put these numbers in perspective, early estimates from the United States Elections Project at George Mason University show that nearly 88 million Americans voted last Tuesday.

The Facebook Data Team used profile information to produce some interesting insights on Election Day turnout. “Looking at these data across a number of dimensions offers insight into what types of people decided to vote, when they went to the polls, and which factors may have influenced the election,” the Data Team said.

The world’s largest social network also reported that in tracking 98 hotly contested races for House seats, 74% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won. Looking at 19 Senate races, 81% of those with more fans won.
Before last week’s elections, Republican Senate candidates held a significant social media advantage over their Democratic opponents. The infographics below illustrate the social media race in the Senate and the margin of victory.

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