How the Michelle Obama Facebook Page May Have Helped Swing the Election

Michelle Obama has amassed a significant following on social networking sites, especially Facebook.

Facebook has released the results from the “I’m Voting” app they launched on election day. The Facebook team came up with several scenarios that may have affected voter turnout. In terms of higher voter turnout correlated with the amount of "likes" a celebrity page has, First Lady Michelle Obama was the front-runner.

There are currently an estimated 168 million Facebook users in the United States. On election day however, 9 million of those users clicked the “I’m Voting" button. From these numbers, Facebook analysts determined that women participated more, determined that Democrats voted more, and gained insights on the age and affiliation of its users. So how does Michelle Obama tie in?

Facebook compiled data based on which celebrities Facebook voters “liked.” Any Facebook user can declare their support for a celebrity by clicking the “like” button on their fan page. Michelle Obama and former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan received the highest number of "likes." Michelle Obama surpassed Ryan and got “likes” from over 35% of the Facebook voter turnout.

        

While only 9 million voters who used the “I’m Voting” app is a fraction of the estimated 126 million Americans who went to the polls on November 6, it is clear the type of voter which Facebook attracts. In the age of social media, it is no surprise that the Facebook voter turnout was predominantly young liberals. For years, the senior population has held high attendance records at the polls, but they are not likely to have a Facebook account.

Michelle Obama’s fan page is not the only area where she has received massive Facebook popularity. On election night, a photo was uploaded to Barack Obama’s Facebook page of the first couple embracing with the caption “four more years.” The photo quickly became the most-liked photo of all time, with over 4 million "likes." Say what you will about the Obamas, but they know how to appeal in social media. The Obama campaign has used social networking as a strategic advertising tool in the past two elections, and the Facebook voter turnout is certainly indicative of that.

       

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Shawna Gillen

Shawna is currently studying Political Science and Psychology at Marist College. She has a passion for politics and is an aspiring lawyer. In her spare time she likes to play club women's rugby, and contributes as the Co-News Editor for Marist's student newspaper.

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