On Tuesday, millions of Americans headed to the polls – and then shared their views on social media websites. Using data from Facebook’s Keywords API and the Twitter tool Topsy, we analyzed social mentions of the candidates in three major races that took place on Tuesday: the New Jersey governor’s race, the Virginia governor’s race, and the New York City mayoral race. Here’s what we found.
New York City Mayoral Race: Social Mentions
In the New York City mayoral race, Bill de Blasio beat Republican Joe Lhota, and the volume of social conversations reflect that one man drew more attention than the other. There were much higher levels of discussion about de Blasio on Facebook and Twitter than about Lhota. De Blasio was also more popular with young people–he was mentioned on Facebook by 18-34 year olds more often than Lhota.
New Jersey Governor’s Race: Social Mentions
Republican incumbent Chris Christie clobbered Democrat Barbara Buono. The volume of social discussion about the two candidates reflects similar patterns here as well. Christie received far more mentions on Facebook and Twitter than Buono. The top cities where Buono was mentioned included tri-state area and New Jersey cities (Livingston, Newark, Mount Laurel, Trenton, Jersey City) while top cities for social mentions of Christie included many more cities across the country (Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles)–validating the conventional wisdom that Christie is a national figure, not just a New Jersey pol.
Virginia Governor’s Race: Social Mentions
The Virginia gubernatorial race was a much closer contest, with Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli neck and neck until late into the evening, when McAuliffe finally claimed victory. The volume of social mentions for McAuliffe and Cuccinelli were close on Tuesday, but McAuliffe had a slight edge. McAuliffe won in part thanks to African-American, Latina and unmarried women voters. He won in social discussion too: 30,820 women mentioned McAuliffe on Facebook, while only 27,091 women mentioned Cuccinelli on Facebook. Also noteworthy: among the top cities discussing McAuliffe are many cities in Northern Virginia, such as Arlington and Alexandria. Northern Virginia was a key region that voted heavily for McAuliffe, helping him to secure his win.
Which race was most talked about?
Of the three major races we looked at on Tuesday – the New Jersey governor’s race, the New York mayoral race, and the Virginia governor race, Virginia was the most discussed race of the three on Twitter - by a landslide. #VAgov had over 54,000 mentions on Tuesday while #NJgov and #NYC2013 both had less than 6,000 each. Why the disparity? The Virginia race was more suspenseful than New Jersey or New York, where Christie and de Blasio had strong leads in the polls going into Election Day.
On Twitter on Tuesday, voters also shared their voting experiences and posted photos using the hashtag #Ivoted. Some tweeted proudly that it was their first time voting:
On MSNBC.com, readers shared their thoughts on what last night’s election results mean for the nation, their state, and the future of the GOP: