Why do some political candidates have a strong Facebook fan base, yet lag in other metrics, such as media coverage or national polls?
With the CNN Western Republican Presidential debate tonight from Las Vegas, we thought it was time to take another look at where the candidates stand.
Take Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
According to our Election Tracker 2012, Paul leads the U.S. Congress in Facebook fans, with nearly 549,000.
Yet, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, he received the least coverage of any candidate overall since July.
Paul has a passionate base of support, very vocal and very active, particularly in the blogosphere — where is his favorable coverage remains high at 48 percent.
However, it’s been hard for him to break through at the televised debates. And when he is asked a question, his libertarian and non-mainstream views come through, ideas that only appeal to a fraction of the population.
In addition, at the last few debates, the media have been more focused on the battle of the current and former governors: Texas’ Rick Perry versus Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
Yet Perry has the opposite problem of Paul. The Texas Governor falls squarely in the middle of an 11-candidate field in Facebook support, according to the Election Tracker, with more than 167,000 likes.
Yet, he enjoys the best ratio of positive to negative media coverage, according to Pew.
Perry He was receiving the most media coverage in general, until two weeks ago when Herman Cain took over the top spot.
Poll numbers tell a different story altogether, with the latest CNN poll showing Perry falling behind a surging Cain and a steady Romney.
Mitt Romney‘s Facebook support tells a different story. He leads all the Republican candidates with more than 1.1 millions Facebook fans.
He is steady, behind Cain, in the latest CNN poll. Yet his media coverage is often mixed.
The Republican base just isn’t enthusiastic in their support of Romney, at this moment.
While many pundits believe he will eventually be the nominee, a number of different GOP candidates have had their time in the sun before the party is ready to crown Romney the victor. Think Michele Bachmann and now, Herman Cain.
In terms of media coverage, Romney has typically received less coverage and less positive coverage than his chief rival of the moment.
Overall, he is second in the amount of attention received and the tone of that narrative has been unwaveringly mixed.
It’s been a fluid and fun Republican primary season so far, and that’s been reflected in the discrepancies found in different measures of candidate support.
The voters are still kicking the tires on the different candidates and aren’t ready to commit yet.
Do you think these differences are significant?