Cain's Online Numbers Suffer, Romney Holds Steady, Obama Continues to Widen the Gap

It’s obvious that anyone running for political office, especially presidential candidates, must have a strong online presence. Twitter, Facebook, and every other social networking tool under the sun must be used effectively by any public figure, hoping to get their message out to the masses. Barack Obama did this better than anyone else in 2008, and this year, it’s imperative for Republicans to harness the power of social media if they want to defeat Obama.

Every week, Zeta Interactive is releasing their weekly Presidential Election Digital Performance Report.  This will include comprehensive reporting and real-time analysis of the leading candidates’ performance across the online landscape.


At Zeta Interactive, we believe that the biggest and most watched brand battle in the next 12 months will be focused on winning the White House.  And for those of you watching, it’s been another exciting week with several dramatic changes as debates, scandals, and the GOP candidates continue to duke it out for the chance to run against Obama.  While the GOP race is clearly heating up – these candidates must not lose site of the efforts and continued growth of Obama and his “marketing machine”.

Here’s our latest update on the impact of the week’s activity:

•    Gingrich Continues to Rise through the Online Ranks: Following significant online increases in the previous week, Newt Gingrich continued to solidify his online presence again last week. Gingrich’s tonal buzz ranking improved to 74% positive, currently placing him as the most positive buzzed GOP candidate in the race. Additionally, Gingrich’s buzz volume increased 40% to a 14% share of all GOP candidates’ buzz, placing him slightly behind Romney and Perry. Gingrich’s Facebook popularity also jumped over the past week increasing by 9,906 fans or nearly 6%.  

•    Perry’s Tonal Buzz Stabilizes After Last Week’s Drop, but Overall Buzz Drops: After Perry’s buzz hit its lowest point last week, his tonal ranking improved 1.6% to 62% positive. However, Perry’s buzz volume dropped 16. 7% to a 15% share, and the words and phrases used most commonly to describe him online over the last week were “flawed”, “jokes” and “Late Night”. These terms and phrases most likely reflect the online community associating him more closely with his post debate gaffe self-deprecating humor than with being a presidential candidate.  

•    Cain’s Traffic and Tonal Buzz Goes South:  Last week’s scandal and debate for Herman Cain was paralleled by an astounding 69.9% drop-off in overall total visits to his site.  Last week his visitor traffic had him in a commanding second place behind Gingrich, however his total site visits now place him in fifth place behind Romney, Gingrich, and even Ron Paul and Rick Perry.  Cain’s tonal buzz decreased by 4.3% dropping to 67% positive overall, being the largest drop in tonal buzz of all GOP candidates over the past week.

•    Romney’s Tonal Buzz Steady, Buzz Volume Up, But Overall Traffic Slips: It was another steady week for Mitt Romney in the digital landscape, with his tonal buzz remaining at 70% positive for the third consecutive week, and his buzz share going to a 15% share from a 13% share previously.  However, this is in contrast to the 5.9% drop in total site visits, which can be attributed to the considerable 53.6% decrease in % of site traffic driven by organic search week over week.

•    Huntsman Overall Trailing, But All Analytics Increase Week Over Week:  Seemingly defying his last place visitor traffic and volume share of buzz, Huntsman’s performance increased in every category week over week.  Total site visits were up 14.7% to 9,780, both Facebook fans and Twitter followers went up approximately 5%, buzz volume increased 67% to a 10% share overall, and % of site visits from social and organic search were up 88.3% and 25.9% respectively.  While the gap is quite large between Huntsman and the leading GOP contenders, these increases across the board suggest his campaign could potentially gain momentum.

•    Ron Paul’s Visitor Traffic Sinks While his Online Buzz Up Slightly:  Ron Paul’s overall total site traffic has been a rollercoaster with a drop last week of 39.2% from his peak the week prior of 87,004 visits.  Last week’s visitor traffic was slightly less than the week ending October 31st however his Facebook fans, Twitter followers, positive tonal rank, and buzz volume are up slightly.  Positive terms found like “smart”, “intelligent,” and “policies” clash with unfavorable mentions like “won’t win”.

•    Obama Traffic, Tonal Buzz and Volume Share Show Spikes:  Perhaps the biggest winner over the past week in digital performance was President Obama.  While the majority of GOP candidates’ online traffic was down over the past week, President Obama’s overall visitor traffic spiked an incredible 69% to 1,209,447 total visitors. Additionally, Obama’s tonal buzz improved by 3.6% over the past week, bringing it to 58% positive.  Ultimately, this camp is powerful and gaining strength – and the race hasn’t even begun.

Full analytical data is available upon request.

*Data referencing Site Visits was sourced from Experian Hitwise, Inc and analyzed by Zeta Interactive.

*Data referencing social buzz is sourced from Zeta Buzz, which monitors the online media landscape. Using an algorithm, the team is able to measure the volume and tone of conversations across the social media landscape.