HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Good Reads (Forum) » Did Facebook Give Democra...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 09:37 PM

Did Facebook Give Democrats the Upper Hand?

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/11/did-facebook-give-democrats-the-upper-hand/264937/

Outside of Facebook's demographic particularities, there are reasons to believe that improved voter turnout in general helps Democrats, though there is a debate about this within political science.

In practice, though, there is no such thing as pure a get-out-the-vote, one whose tide raises all votes, and Facebook is no exception. It skews toward both women and younger voters, two groups which tended to prefer Democrats on Tuesday. Eighteen-to-29-year-olds voted 60 percent for Obama, compared with 37 percent for Romney. The next-older age group, 30-to-44-year-olds, gave Obama 52 percent of their support. Among Americans older than 45, Romney won. The implication is clear: If Facebook provides a cheap and effective way to get more people to the polls, and it seems that it does, that is good news for Democrats. For Republicans, well, it's an uncomfortable situation when increasing voter participation is a losing strategy.

* * *

Facebook's effect -- however big it is -- is at the margins, and in a country where elections are so close, the margins can matter a lot. But there are long-term trends underfoot that, for Republicans, mean their troubles go beyond Facebook. This year was the third presidential election in a row where young-voter participation hovered around 50 percent (meaning that half of eligible young people actually voted), Peter Levine of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University told me, and this is up from a low of just 37 percent in 1996. Obviously, that sort of shift is not the result of a Facebook message. "This seems to be a significant generational change," he said.

All of this adds up to a shifting electoral environment, as young people come out to the polls in greater numbers, and are more easily reached online. "In terms of good news for the Democrats," Donald Green of Columbia University told me, "the fact that you have this age cohort that has been socialized into very strong presidential support for Democrats, is in some ways the countervailing force to the age cohort that was socialized into strong Republican support under Reagan." Voting once is known to be habit forming. Those who were brought to the polls by the wave of enthusiasm for Obama in 2008 will likely vote in greater numbers for the rest of their lives, even in a more humdrum election, as this one felt.

And that's perhaps the worst news of all for the Republicans. A wave of enthusiasm is one thing, an anomaly in an otherwise 50/50 nation. But now the tide has gone out, and the seashore looks changed.

5 replies, 1064 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply Did Facebook Give Democrats the Upper Hand? (Original post)
roseBudd Nov 2012 OP
santamargarita Nov 2012 #1
roseBudd Nov 2012 #5
alp227 Nov 2012 #2
HooptieWagon Nov 2012 #3
roseBudd Nov 2012 #4

Response to roseBudd (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:13 PM

1. It sure pissed off my Republican Daughter.

My posts drove her crazy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to santamargarita (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:25 PM

5. I wonder if I may have influenced my nephew, based on somethung he...

wrote on Facebook. His mother, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles are very Republican.

With Facebook we have a way to influuence them at the begining of their political lives.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to roseBudd (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:43 PM

2. Not quite, given all the right wing pages and stuff on Facebook.

The Internet was thought to neutralize the influence of talk radio/Fox News. Instead Facebook and other social media have become places for brain dead right wingers to wank and confirm their own biases.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:23 PM

3. That depends on your "friends".

Most of my fb "friends" are Dems, so most of the fb posts I saw were pro-Obama, and got a lot of likes and shares. Most of my republican "friends" kept a pretty low profile on fb.
There was an across the board emphisis on voting. Lots of tips, reports, and suggestioons for dealing with lines during early voting and on election day.
Gamechanger? I don't know about that. Most all my friends were on one side or the other... I don't recall any undecideds who could be swayed.
So, while fb was good for keeping enthusiasm up and keeping people informed, its mostly preaching to the choir...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:20 PM

4. I disagree

Like rightwing attempts to do a righty "Daily Show", righties aren't very good at humor, or at Facebook.

In addition, Facebook, like college is done better by smart people. Anything that involves written communication skills, or creative, like making Facebook JPGs, the righties suck at.

Third they put up their dumbshit and anyone can comment, so their dumb JPGs get slammed.

We did win, and I have been saying for at least a year, that this was going to be the first social media election. I saw it happen with SB5 in Ohio, exactly a year ago, shortly after Occupy burst on the scene. SB5 was Gov. Kasich's union busting, it was repealed by a landslide. In addition, in Cincinnati, Occupy took out 4 city council members (R) that said mean things about Occupy. I saw it unfold on Facebook. People vote for social reasons.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread