My 2012 Election Research

Over the course of the semester, I’ve been conducting a whole lot of research for my government class on the 2012 election. This class is the one with Professor Corrado, one of the top experts in the country on campaign finance and in general is just awesome. I decided to look into candidate use of Facebook, which seems at first to be a cop out and something you know not too legitimate to be “researching” in college, especially at a school like Colby. When you look into it, however, the results are fascinating: the way each of the candidates use Facebook said a HUGE amount about their general campaign strategy. My main thesis was that Obama and Romney both operated under different contexts: because Facebook users tend to be younger and more liberal, the message Obama put out through the site would serve to reinforce and strengthen his base rather than directly affect the vote. Because of this paradigm, the Romney campaign actually held a huge potential advantage and had the opportunity to shape a centralized message and appeal to voters who weren’t already core supporters. Despite this, the Romney campaign wholly failed to take advantage of this and used the site to ameliorate the dichotomy between outside money being raised and money that directly went to their campaign. So, postings generally went towards fundraising efforts. That was a very quick description and I promise you, the research is way more cool and advanced and descriptive than that was.

I really hope to carry on this research after the class, and it might be some sort of independent study I do during JanPlan – Professor Corrado was very interested in it and there could definitely be some huge future potential, since no one else has really looked into this yet and it says a huge amount about how both campaigns operated. Hopefully this research counts towards my government research major requirement, too.

Anyways, I could spent days talking about this and posting clippings of my research and more, but I thought I’d give you a very quick glance.

Some raw data: (oh, and A/C are Obama, B/D are Romney – I specified that on my final copy of course)

Color always looks good

I know, I know: but my professor laughed (title page)

First two pages of my essay (there are 23, I believe, including all the appendices – that’s doubled spaced though)

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