Influence in Political Campaigns: Blunt vs. Carnahan

by Eric Melin on September 13, 2010

democrat republican

In political campaigns these days, social media is becoming an essential tool. President Obama proved that with his campaign in 2008, and usage of the Internet for politicians has grown more sophisticated since then. (Here are 21 Rules for Politicians Using Social Media from LibertyPundits.)

The Roy Blunt (R) – Robin Carnahan (D) race for a Missouri U.S. seat is becoming more heated every day, and we’ve been following it with our web monitoring platform to gain insight about the messages each candidate is communicating and how those messages are spreading across the Internet.

Last week, we blogged about the language being used on the Web in relation to the candidates and how it revealed that a key component of Blunt’s strategy—tying his opponent to Obama—is working. Blunt is capitalizing on Missouri voters’ anti-Obama sentiment, and is leading in the polls by a 10% margin.

robin carnahan_study

Carnahan study

Why Influence Matters

Two key components of any candidate’s Internet strategy are the website’s message and its ability to control the conversation. By applying our influence algorithm (which takes into consideration inbound links and search source abundance, among other things) to each candidate’s online presence, it’s clear that Blunt has a big edge over Carnahan.

Each candidate has its own topic study to measure how they perform on their own versus how they perform in conjunction with their opponent. Both studies produced similar results and show that in terms of online message, Carnahan has a lot of ground to make up.

In the Carnahan study (above right), Robincarnahan.com is ranked a shocking #356 in terms of influence. In that same study—where the terms “robin” and “carnahan” are primary keywords—Royblunt.com holds the #5 influencer position.

roy blunt_study

Blunt study

In the Blunt study (right)—where the terms “roy” and “blunt” are primary keywords— Royblunt.com holds the #8 influencer position, while Robincarnahan.com holds the #412 influencer position.

In terms of controlling the message, Blunt’s online presence is far louder and more persistent that Carnahan’s. In addition, his campaign is doing a better job about managing information about Carnahan than her own campaign is.

Constant Monitoring

Political campaigns are all about messages. Regularly evaluating your messaging and its effectiveness plays a big role in the ultimate success of a campaign. Constant social media and web monitoring allows you to modify your strategy based on the feedback you get. In a political campaign, speed is everything.

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