One of the most consistent bright spots for the Obama campaign has been Facebook. The main Obama group, Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack), has 333,427 members at the moment. And so it’s heartening to see that in 2006, candidates were significantly helped by Facebook support:
The candidates‘ Facebook support had a significant effect on their final vote shares, particularly in the case of open-seat candidates. Given that Facebook supporters may not draw from a candidate‘s eligible and registered voters and tend to overrepresent the 18 to 24 year old age demographic, we see this measure as a proxy for the underlying enthusiasm and intensity of support a candidate generates. In other words, the number of Facebook supporters is an indicator of a campaign resource that does matter, and is independent of the impact of other variables in our predictive model.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Obama provokes far more enthusiasm and intense support than any other candidate, but it’s still nice to see more evidence.