In the Social Media world, Rubio would be Romney's Veep choice

As Mitt Romney moves inexorably closer to the delegate count that will validate his candidacy for the White House, all eyes now turn to the selection process for his running mate.  With Beth Myers now assembling a “short list” of potential candidates for the No. 2 slot on the ticket, it’s time to take a look at which potential partner could help Romney strengthen his presence within the online landscape.

We continue to document that the interactive platform will be one of the most critical campaign grounds as we move toward the November election. Team Obama has already established an incredible lead here on both Facebook and Twitter.  The team continues to create new beachheads within emerging platforms like Pinterest.  Let’s take a look at the prospects

Facebook Friends

Sen. Marco Rubio — 258,032
Rep. Paul Ryan — 95,175
Gov. Chris Christie — 57,737
Gov. Rob McDonnell — 53,412
Sen. Rob Portman — 27,270
Condoleezza Rice  — 523
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty  — 100,156

VP Joe Biden – 322,597

Based on the “numbers” Marco Rubio has a big lead in the field of potential GOP vice presidential candidates. It also helps that he is a likeable Senator from the battleground state of Florida. Rubio has done a great job in terms of building his brand on a local level and shows real promise in terms of extending that brand on a national basis.  While Paul Ryan’s numbers are strong, much of his growth comes from his current exposure around the GOP budget discussion. It will be interesting to see if he can sustain this growth in coming weeks and broaden his base.  Mitt Romney is going to need some serious help from his VP in stimulating the online audience to a new level of excitement and engagement behind the ticket.  Right now, candidates the likes of Portman, Mc Donnell & even Chris Christie don’t have the “online presence” to move the needle in the dramatic manner needed in the social media world.

Twitter Followers

Sen. Marco Rubio – 86,293
Rep. Paul Ryan – 121,778
Gov. Chris Christie – 10,239
Gov. Rob McDonnell – 20,867
Sen. Rob Portman – 11,578
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty  — 64,454
Condoleezza Rice — 23,697

VP Joe Biden – 62,689

YouTube Presence

As we continue to monitor a variety of interactive components, it’s clear that You Tube will play an increasingly important role in providing voters with a 360-degree perspective on a given candidate. We believe it is worthwhile to monitor both subscribers and views for the VP candidates moving forward as an indication of further interest and affinity to a candidate. Here’s a look at those in the VP hunt and their base of “you tube watchers”.

Site Subscribers Views
Sen. Marco Rubio 1,518 1,594,560
Gov. Chris Christie 4,564 4,394,300
Rep. Paul Ryan 2,626 1,156,317
Sen. Rob Portman 106 35,249
Gov. Rob McDonnell 299 90,221
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty 889 1,261,723
Condoleezza Rice
VP Joe Biden 2, 588 2,094,967

Herein lies the opportunity for the Republican nominee.  It’s clear that the Team Obama has put very little emphasis on raising the profile of VP Joe Biden as part of their overall re-election effort.  While the team puts their efforts behind President Obama’s Twitter profile (over 14 million followers) ; the Vice President is virtually a non-existent component of their strategy. Whether it is out of uncertainty or fear, Biden is the weak link in the overall interactive footprint of the President. The message is clear…focus on President Obama…and nothing else.

Mitt Romney and the Republicans have an opportunity to raise the level of voice in this campaign by enlisting a choir of high profile social media personalities with a unified and consistent tune and message. Again, Rubio offers a solid foundation of followers that can be built upon. Paul Ryan has a substantial showing, yet the question here is whether his focus on the budget can be leveraged to achieve a broader appeal.  It is clear that the Republican Party has an opportunity in selecting the right “social media” candidate to change the dynamics in this campaign.

It will become increasingly difficult for the President to battle a network of strong advocates all espousing a consistent message aggressively online. This opportunity is being made available to the Republicans due to the single-minded focus that Team Obama has with its candidate.  The Obama machine is a one-man rule operation. Republicans need to adopt a divide-and-conquer strategy in order to win.

The first step toward achieving that goal is selecting the right VP candidate. We will continue to track online metrics that monitor overall social media and Internet presence.  The opportunity is real. It’s time to make the smart choice.


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