Republicans Dominate Facebook, Democrats Take to Twitter in Midterm Elections

    by Kurt Abrahamson
    November 3, 2014
    Photo by Letta Page and used here with Creative Commons license.

    With midterm elections around the corner, ShareThis has taken a deep dive into what people are sharing about; what are the important issues, who are the key politicians, and why should we care? Dubbed the “most boring and uncreative campaign in recent history” by New York Times columnist David Brooks, there does not seem to be any one defining issue driving the polls. However, without any one issue driving this election, we are left with social engagement and sharing activity as an important metric in determining what people are most hyped about and, furthermore, what will determine the outcome.

    By strictly looking at social engagement, we found that climate change, healthcare, and immigration are the most talked about issues on the social web. Here are some of the takeaways from our research.

    "Millennials are nearly twice as likely to share about major events within the first 24 hours and much less likely to engage about this same event in the following weeks as older demographics begin to pick up on the conversation."

    top issues for 2014 midterm elections


    However, when looking at the sharing behavior of millennials specifically, one of the most active and influential demographics on the social web, we found the most talked about issues to be climate change, student loans, and net neutrality. This is a crucial insight as it demonstrates that issues millennials care most about are also the ones most relevant to them.

    Top political issues for millennials

    Millennials are the most important demographic to connect with because they are highly reactive. They are the first to respond and therefore lead the conversation for the rest of the population. Millennials are nearly twice as likely to share about major events within the first 24 hours and much less likely to engage about this same event in the following weeks as older demographics begin to pick up on the conversation.



    Interestingly, ShareThis found that each social channel has its own political leaning. While Facebook leans to the right, Twitter and Reddit tend to lean to the left.

    political issues by social media channel

    Within each state, the Republican candidates seem to outpace the Democratic candidates with regards to sharing activity. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania are the two exceptions.

    social engagement during 2014 midterm elections

    Kurt is the CEO of ShareThis, the company that uses large-scale social data to deliver breakthrough insights, audience building and advertising solutions across mobile and desktop environments. Prior to joining ShareThis, Kurt served as CEO of SocialMedia.com, a leader in online display advertising, which was acquired by LivingSocial. Before SocialMedia.com, Kurt spent several years at Google, where he led the global launch of Google AdSense as Director of the Content Media Group. He also served as Google’s Director of Global Sales & Operations Strategy and as Director of Sales Operations for North America. Before joining Google, Kurt served as Chief Operating Officer of Jupiter Communications and as President of Jupiter Media Metrix, where he helped establish Jupiter as one of the leading Internet research organizations. Kurt received his Bachelor of Science in communications from Cornell, and a Master’s degree in public policy from Harvard.

    Tagged: midterm elections politics sharethis social media social media and politics

    Comments are closed.

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

    About MediaShift »
    Contact us »
    Sponsor MediaShift »
    MediaShift Newsletters »

    Follow us on Social Media