Facebook users have a lot to say on debates

Source: Politico
Coverage Type: reporting
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Facebook users have strong opinions about presidential debates, according to a Facebook survey of its U.S. users. And they don’t always mirror those of voters.

On Dec. 16, for instance, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman shot to the top of the GOP pack in terms of positive “sentiment” — roughly 70 percent of the postings and comments on Facebook about them were positive — according to a monthlong survey done exclusively by Facebook and provided to POLITICO. That was the day after the Sioux City, Iowa, Fox News debate, the last before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. While the Facebook chatter presaged Santorum’s surge, users of the social network were more inclined to be supportive of Huntsman than Iowa voters, who gave him just 1 percent in the caucuses. It was also a day when most of the mainstream media covered the debate and judged who won and lost, and could have been when most Facebook users shared and commented on articles, or even watched the late-night debate, or clips of it, for the first time. This is the first time that Facebook has undertaken such a survey of its users about presidential candidates. And the results do not always accurately reflect what happens in the early states. The survey, for instance, is not of registered or likely voters, and includes people from all political parties. It also examines Facebook users nationally, not just those in early states such as Iowa.



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