Published On: Mon, Oct 22nd, 2018

Midterms: Who’s Winning The Social Media Battle?

Despite Trump's optimism, history is against his party. This has been the case for every sitting president's party during the midterms since the Roosevelt era and since 1946, the party controlling the White House has lost 25 House seats on average in the midterms. 

Midterms: Who's Winning The Social Media Battle?

Social media has become vital to success in 21st-century politics. Barack Obama and Donald Trump have something major in common: their social media strategies played a considerable role in their election victories. With the midterm electons just around the corner, social media is once again set to play a decisive part in shaping the American political landscape for years to come. Considering how high the stakes are online, The New York Times conducted an analysis of Facebook and Instagram interactions over the past 30 days to see which party is winning the social media battle ahead of the elections.

That involved over 53,000 posts and more than 1,100 accounts on both Facebook and Instagram in the 30 days up to October 15. Democrats were firmly in the lead in terms of likes, comments and shares on both networks during that period. Republicans are more successful on Facebook than Instagram but they still trail their Democrat opponents in terms of interactions. For example, Democratic Senate candidates had 10 million interactions compared to the GOP’s 2.2 million. Democrats also came first for interactions among House candidates with 3.5 million vs 1.5 million for the Republicans. Things were tighter in the race for the country’s governor positions and this time, the GOP had their noses slightly ahead.

When it comes to the situation on Instagram, Democrats also had the most interactions among candidates for governor and the Senate. Even though all of that social media domination may sound rosy for the Democrats, it is unlikely to result in a blue wave in November. The bulk of the interactions on both social networks happened on the pages of a handful of high-profile candidates, some of whom are running uncontested. For example, Bernie Sanders had 6 million interactions over those 30 days while Beto O’Rourke had 1.6 million and Elizabeth Warren had 940,000. Those three candidates accounted for 86 percent of all Facebook interactions among Senate candidates.

Infographic: Midterms: Who's Winning The Social Media Battle? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

 

President’s Party Usually Performs Poorly In The Midterms

Earlier this week, Donald Trump was again highly optimistic about the GOP’s prospects in the midterms, telling reporters that the main base of the Democrats has shifted so far left that the U.S. would end up like Venezuela. The president said he expects a lot of Democrat voters to support Republican candidates in early November. Despite Trump’s optimism, history is against his party. This has been the case for every sitting president’s party during the midterms since the Roosevelt era and since 1946, the party controlling the White House has lost 25 House seats on average in the midterms. 
Two months before the 2018 midterms, Donald Trump has an approval rating of 40 percent. According to Gallup’s polling history, presidents with an approval rating below 50 percent have seen their party lose 37 House seats on average while presidents with a 50 percent or higher approval rating have lost 14 on average. Only two U.S. presidents have seen their party gain House seats according to the American Presidency Project – Bill Clinton in 1998 and George W. Bush in 2002.There are many reasons for the traditional poor performance from the president’s party in the midterms and it doesn’t always involve performance or legislative decisions. Lack of interest certainly plays a role given that supporters of the president’s party are usually satisfied that their favored candidate is in the White House. Given that, they tend to turn out in lower numbers while supporters of the opposition are more energetic and motivated to head out and vote. The trend shows why the president’s first 100 days is vital when it comes to pushing key legislation through. After the first midterm, the political landscape can change completely and that makes the pursuit of major legislation difficult and in many cases impossible.

Infographic: President's Party Usually Performs Poorly In The Midterms | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

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