Let’s pretend for a second that people get most of their news and information from Twitter (that’s true for quite a few people, like me). And while we’re at it, let’s pretend that retweets on Twitter indicate the voting intention or something like that.
If all of those were true and Mitt Romney had the same number of Twitter followers as Barack Obama, Romney would probably win the US presidential election.
I was reading a story about some of the feedback on social media about the US presidential election considering the Obama v. Romney second debate is happening tonight. It got me thinking about what kind of engagement Romney and Obama get on their respective Twitter accounts.
So I took a quick sample of Obama’s and Romney’s tweets from the last couple of days.
As a bit of fun, I averaged out the number of retweets for each tweet sent and here were the scores:
Obama: 1423 retweets (average)
Romney: 1408 retweets (average)
Really close with Obama leading. But wait, there’s more information to consider.
Number of Obama followers on twitter: 20,950,148
Mitt Romney’s follower numbers: 1,419,444
(Numbers from when I looked on October 16th, 2012)
Considering Obama has nearly 15 times more followers, Mitt Romney’s average number of retweets is looking pretty impressive.
In fact, Mitt Romney has an average retweet percentage of 0.1% - meaning 0.1% of his followers retweet his tweets. Put another way, 1,000 people for each million Romney twitter followers will retweet his updates.
By comparison, Obama has an average retweet percentage of 0.007% - or about 70 people for each million Obama twitter followers will retweet.
Romney: 1,000 per million. Obama: 70 per million.
Mitt Romney is certainly getting a higher proportion of his followers to take action and retweet his updates. If things were a simple additive function (which they often aren’t) and Romney had more followers, this type of retweet rate could help raise his brand awareness to the grounds of the White House.
Over the past 30 tweets, Obama has some spikes in the number of retweets he receives but the averaged numbers are really close. Here’s what the retweet numbers look like:
The Obama spikes you see here are from a photo tweet and Obama asking people to retweet to support the campaign.
I genuinely expected Obama, with millions more Twitter followers and the current US President, to have a LOT more retweets on average. But Mitt Romney is certainly driving a good level of retweeting from his smaller audience.
I should point out that this is only based on a small sample of tweets and Obama tweets far more often than Romney so that could play into things. This is just a bit of curious, fun,back-of-the-napkin data doodling. The sample of tweets only includes original updates from the official Obama and Romney twitter accounts.