A Social Media Analysis of Utah’s Senatorial Race

By Sterling Morris

The Buzz in the Beehive State

Utah’s Senate race has been a heated one. More than 15 candidates are currently vying for the coveted national Senatorial seat. The current level of competition in this race can be seen in the number of ads targeted at the current incumbent Orrin Hatch.

Orrin Hatch, who assumed office on January 3, 1977, is the third most senior Senator in the Senate. Groups including FreedomWorks have invested funds in ousting Hatch. Many of these funds have shown up in the world of social media including this ad uploaded to FreedomWork’s YouTube channel.

There are certainly many who support the reelection of Utah’s senior Senator including Utah’s adopted son and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The strong desire from Utah’s population to either reelect or retire Hatch has led to mammoth campaign funds for a Senatorial race. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Orrin Hatch has $3.25 million in his campaign bank account. One of his main contenders Dan Liljenquist has $242,200 in his account and will add $300,000 to that sum from his personal funds this week.

With substantial interest in the outcome of this race, it’s natural to attempt to gauge the influence each candidate’s campaign is having on voters. Three tools that may help us see how the candidates are performing include looking at each candidates Facebook, Twitter and It Score performance. Let’s have a look at how each candidate ranks in these categories:

It Scores
1. Orrin Hatch | 15
2. Dan Liljenquist | 14
3. Chris Herrod | 11
4. Shaun McCausland | 10
5. Pete Ashdown | 9
6. Tim Aalders | 8

Facebook 
1. Orrin Hatch | 21,011
2. Dan Liljenquist | 5,440
3. Chris Herrod | 226
4. Pete Ashdown | 220
5. Scott Howell | 200
6. Bill Barron | 88
7. Tim Alders | 53
8. Dale Ash | 0
8. Loy Brunson | 0
8. David Chiu | 0
8. Kevin Fisk | 0
8. Jeremy Friedbaum | 0
8. Daniel Geery | 0
8. William Lawrence | 0
8. Shaun McCausland | 0
8. William Peterson II | 0

Twitter
1. Orrin Hatch | 31,696
2. Dan Liljenquist | 2,756
3. Pete Ashdown | 878
4. Tim Alders | 371
5. Chris Herrod | 161
6. Scott Howell | 27
7. Shaun McCausland | 16
8. Loy Brunson | 8
9. Daniel Geery | 10
10. Dale Ash | 0
10. Bill Barron | 0
20. David Chiu | 0
10. Kevin Fisk | 0
10. Jeremy Friedbaum | 0
10. William Lawrence | 0
10. William Peterson II | 0

After surveying hundreds of politicians social media data across the country, PoliticIt has discovered that Facebook and Twitter are the first and second most commonly used social media platforms, respectively, for political campaigns. A candidate’s campaign performance correlates with his or her social media performance. An It Score measures each political candidate’s digital influence on a scale from 1 to 100.

Sterling Morris is a co-founder at PoliticIt. He enjoys studying economics, politics, and reading in his spare time. He can be reached on Twitter at @Sterling_Morris or at sterling.morris@gmail.com.

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