While it started in a Massachusetts dorm room, Facebook’s measure of presidential election mentions shows it’s become an international news carrier. There were 88.7 million election-related mentions outside the US, compared to 71.7 million state-side. “Vote” was the most popular word said on Facebook while to polls were open, while “Obama” took the top spot later in the day.
Other key stats from Facebook’s study included that men were more likely than women to talk politics in the run-up to the election, but that evened out as the polls opened. And while adults 35 to 54 and 55+ were most likely to discuss the debates, the youth spoke up on election day, with 25-34 year olds contributing the most mentions.
As for the most popular memes, Romney’s confession that he likes “Big Bird” despite being willing to cut funding to Sesame Street’s host channel PBS turned the term into the top pre-election day phrase. It narrowly beat out another Romney gaffe, “binders full of women”, though both got a surge of mentions on November 6th.
Facebook did its best to encourage discussion of the election, specifically asking people to “tell friends you’re voting” through notifications and home page banners. That apparently worked considering “vote” was the most popular term until the polls closed. 9.6 million total people told Facebook they voted using the button at the top of the news feed.
All those mentions and callouts don’t seem to have increased youth voter turnout, however. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement says that exit polls showed 49.3 percent of eligible voters age 18 to 29 cast their ballot. It expects that percentage to rise to 51 as the votes are counted — which is almost exactly the same as the voter turnout in 2008. That’s somewhat disappointing considering Facebook has grown from 145 million to 1 billion monthly users in the same time period.
Here’s the full lists of the most mentioned terms across Facebook throughout the day of the election:
Election Day (11/6), 7 AM PT
1. Vote – all forms: Go vote (top phrase) / voting / get out and vote / I voted / the right to vote
2. Election Day / Happy Election Day
8. Exercise your right to vote
10. Our Country
Election Day (11/6), 2:30 PM PT
1. Vote / Voted / Votes
Election Day (11/6), 6 PM PT
3. Win / Wins / Winning / Win the election
4. Results / Election Results
6. Electoral / Electoral Map / Electoral Votes
8. If Romney Wins
10. Coverage / Election Coverage
Election Day (11/6), 10 PM PT
2. 4 more years / 4 years
3. President / President Obama
4. Thank God
5. Won / Wins
7. Country / My Country / This Country
[Image via Inside Facebook]