How Facebook Moved The Outcome Of An Ohio Election

Facebook seems to have played a key role in the successful outcome of one high-profile ballot initiative in Ohio last week.

The Issue Two campaign leveraged Facebook to repeal a controversial state senate bill that sought to ban unions from collective bargaining, or negotiating labor contracts with the state.

One pro labor union effort, We Are Ohio, is conducting a little market research on its Facebook page, asking:

How did Facebook pages like We Are Ohio and Stand Up For Ohio help you find out about Issue Two? How did you use them to help veto SB5? Were you asked to help We Are Ohio through Facebook? Did your recruit your friends?

We scanned the nearly 200 comments (so you don’t have to), and it seems two Facebook features were most often cited by fans.

Share

Fans say they used the We Are Ohio page to share messages and information about the effort with their friends and to stay up to date on the campaign.

The engagement must have paid off, because the We Are Ohio Facebook page grew to more than 100,000 likes over the course of the campaign, with nearly 23,000 people talking about the effort. Stand Up for Ohio had more than 130,000 likes.

Targeting

Micro-targeting specific voting blocks on Facebook, a tactic digital strategists have told us is key this year, seems to have done the trick in Ohio.

Not only did the Issue Two movement have a central Facebook page, but individual pages were developed for specific constituencies: Students, veterans, and different regions of the state, such as We Are Ohio Southeast.

How did Facebook affect some of the other local ballot initiatives that got national attention, such as the reproductive rights question in Mississippi?

There isn’t a lot of data on Facebook yet, however, a newspaper in Mississippi summed up the grassroots effort to defeat a pair of “personhood” measures that would have banned abortion and many forms of contraception.

According to the Jackson Free Press, Michelle Colon, the founder of the Hell No movement, said she started her own Facebook campaign because no group in the state seemed to stand against personhood supporters.

Many other Mississippians did the same thing once the state Supreme Court ruled that the initiative would be on the ballot. Hello No’s Colon says that grassroots surge reassured her in recent weeks that the initiative would fail. Hell No accumulated nearly 900 fans on Facebook.

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