One harsh lesson of he 2012 election was that the GOP is woefully behind when it comes to digital campaigning. From poor list management to failing to even being to scratch the surface in utilizing social media, the GOP is still playing catch-up not only to the Obama machine but Democrats in general.
It’s hard to measure a campaign’s overall online operations from the outside looking in (who knows what kind of lists the campaigns are running on or how they’re targeting them other than what’s in Mr. Hammer’s inbox) but the clearest indicator of enthusiasm right now is how each campaign is gaining any traction on social media.
First, a quick glimpse at the top numbers of each campaign’s Facebook and Twitter presence:
Now, how much they updated Facebook and Twitter last week:
Notes: All numbers as of 12/17. Numbers for Davis and Martin could be wrong, but if they have Facebook and Twitter presences beyond what’s listed here they’re very very very difficult to find.
So what does this tell us? First, some candidates have done a good job transitioning there long standing presence into their statewide efforts (McAuliffe, Snyder, Stewart, Chopra for example). Second, alphabetizing is hard for Mjolnir (Snyder is supposed to come before Stewart and Stimpson, ah well). Third, their tech guy (Chopra) is leaps and bounds ahead of our tech guy (Snyder).
Now, followers and likes are weak metrics to measure how well a candidate is truly doing. If Mrs. Hammer’s honey-do list was a bit shorter, perhaps I’d be able to roll up my sleeves and do a thorough evaluation of posts, types, engagement and the like and go, “wow, this candidate is so well loved it’s amazing that they aren’t already the nominee!” But that’s a lot of work and, honestly, not what people see when they first visit the social media properties of a candidate. They look for raw numbers and activity.
So just looking at these numbers, where does the GOP stand?
Governor and Attorney General races we’re doing pretty darn well. Raw numbers are at least competitive and the Cuccinelli/McAuliffe numbers reflect the national profiles of both candidates and of the campaign.
Lieutenant Governor? Chopra benefits from his national profile as the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States. But his focus and following has been based on tech topics, not running for public office. How well he can utilize that advantage in a primary battle and eventul general election is anyone’s guess. But among the GOP field, no one candidate has carved out a significant space in social media yet.
It’s early so there’s a lot of room for growth in all areas. But have we learned anything?
The jury’s still out.