The social candidacy: The elections Facebook influenced

Ian Lurie

Or, if you’re a Republican: “What the hell just happened?!”

The election was supposed to be close. Regardless of your party affiliation, you heard that for months: Maybe an electoral tie. Certainly with one candidate winning the electoral college and the other the popular vote. We wouldn’t know for days after November 6th…

Oops. The slide presentation/mini e-book below explains what I think happened: Polling companies missed an entire demographic group. At the same time: If the GOP wants to get back in the fight in 2016, they need to take a serious look at their social media strategy. That could hold the key to cracking their universe problem.

Disclaimer: I am a pinko lefty liberal. But that didn’t affect my research. You can see how hard I’ve been on the Democrats in past years for their social and internet marketing gaffes: Here and here. And either side can use or ignore this info.

Most important: Whichever party you’re from, please don’t post political yelling, screaming, taunting or caterwauling below. I’ll delete it. Stick to the report, and what you’d add, change or delete.

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Sorry, I’m going to bring up that guy again, but hasn’t Nate Silver used polling data as the basis of his analysis? Wouldn’t that suggest that the data is still meaningful, but needs to be interpreted correctly?

    1. I don’t think we should throw away polling data. And yes, it can still be interpreted correctly – no question about that. I just think it’d be EASIER to interpret if we also put in social media data. It’d give us a clearer picture across more demographics.

  2. Great presentation, as always.
    Looking at slide 12, the Florida margin was closer than the FB likes suggest, and FB likes were not accurate in predicting North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
    Perhaps FB likes can show a trend, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on them. But as with all polling, one is trying to reach a reasonable estimate based upon data. Great work Ian!
    P.S. Do you still have the Hebrew “Barack Obama” bumper sticker on your computer? Pinko lefty to the core 🙂

    1. I DID have the hebrew “Barack Obama” on my last laptop. Not on this one, alas.
      I would never say “Facebook is the BE ALL AND END ALL OF PREDICTION.” I feel more like you can use it to supplement polling data and get a far better picture. We are, after all, trying to measure highly evolved primate behavior with computers. It’s hard.

  3. Well I’m not a big poll believer and I’m a big social media user, so in a way I wasn’t at all surprised by the results. The Obama team really knows how to run a campaign I tell ya!

  4. Interesting presentation, Ian. The need to engage the voters via social media continues to increase as more of them spend a considerable amount of time there. Some elected representatives believe that people who vote based on a candidate’s online presence as opposed to after speaking to him in person, shaking his hand and/or at the very least seeing him speak in person are making a wrong choice, but that’s just because they don’t yet understand how influential the candidates’ online presence can be. Whoever does well in their social media campaign before and during the election can reap significant rewards in terms of increased voter trust and, ultimately, votes.

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