In the battle for Internet attention in the 2016 presidential race, two candidates stand head and shoulders above the others when it comes to social media — but that doesn't necessarily mean they are headed for a win.
In fact, on the Republican side, the Internet winner is far down the list of potential GOP candidates for 2016.
In the last 10 months, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have been running neck-and-neck in attention on social media sites, Politico
However, despite his Internet popularity, Cruz came in at ninth in a CNN November poll
of overall GOP candidate rankings, while Clinton was well ahead in the polls with 65 percent favoring her as-yet-unannounced candidacy.
Politico, citing data provided by Facebook and Twitter, reported that Clinton and Cruz together garnered a full 40 percent of comments on Facebook and almost half, or 47 percent, of comments on Twitter, when comments on all 10 candidates mentioned as possible presidential contenders in the last three months were totaled.
On Facebook, there were 27 million comments related to the White House race.
Comments on Clinton were made up 2.3 million people, with 5.6 million interactions, compared to Cruz's 1.8 million users mentioning him 5.6 million times, Politico notes.
Out of 15.9 million total candidate mentions on Twitter, Clinton had 2.9 million or 18 percent of the mentions, and Cruz got 4.6 million mentions or 29 percent.
While former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in 10th among other GOP candidates in social media hits, with just 3 percent on Facebook and 2 percent on Twitter, he comes in at third place in the CNN poll with 9 percent support, right behind former presidential contender Mitt Romney, at 20 percent, and Dr. Ben Carson at 10 percent.
Without question, social media has become a major part of political campaigns. Pew Research
in October found a virtual tie between those who get their political news and commentary from local television and from social media, with 49 percent using local television and 48 percent using Facebook, which is, by far, the most popular social media site.
During both his presidential campaigns, President Obama scored big with social media appeals, raising $690 million and registering over a million new voters with the campaigns' Facebook app, The Week
Politico notes that BuzzFeed's Ben Smith predicted in November, "Facebook is on the cusp — and I suspect 2016 will be the year this becomes clear — of replacing television advertising as the place where American elections are fought and won."
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