Facebook was more than just a place to share political opinions during the 2012 U.S. general election, with the company itself releasing a suite of tools and apps to help voters find their polling place, connect with each other, and keep track in real time of who said they voted and where around the country. Facebook kept track of self-declared users who voted through posts and through an “I’m Voting” app it worked on with CNN.
One academic study even found Facebook may have responsible for boosting turnout among young voters.
But now Facebook itself is revealing some of its own internal measures of just how many people and what types used Facebook on Election Day, and for what purposes. On Friday, Facebook posted a roundup of results from its 2012 Election-themed user activity on its Data Science page.
Here’s some of the more interesting findings about Facebook users and the 2012 Election:
Women shared that they were voting more than men
However, as Facebook Data Science researcher Eytan Bakshy wrote in the post Friday, “women are disproportionately more likely to share in general on Facebook. Compared to comments, likes and status updates, voting has the same amount of gender imbalance as we see in other forms of communication.”
This is illustrated in the following graph Facebook posted:
Self-declared Facebook voters were also more Democratic and more likely to support Obama
Facebook released the following graph of voter turnout of its U.S. members during the election according to party affiliation:
The highest turnout was for Obama supporters at 18.2 percent, followed closely by self-identified Democrats at 18 percent. The turnout among conservatives was just over 12 percent, and the turnout among those identified as “very conservative” was just over 14 percent.
Younger voters dominated
The following two graphs show the breakdown of age and 1) overall voter participation on Facebook by political identification 2) voter participation on mobile devices.
Clearly, younger voters were the most likely to share that they voted on Facebook, which might be expected. But what’s surprising is how large the age window was, with top activity of those self-identified voters basically plateauing between ages 18 and 44 for those who said they voted across the site. Meanwhile, “the majority of people age 22-38 shared their vote on a mobile device,” as Bakshy put it.
The two Presidential candidates weren’t even at the top of Facebook’s ticket
Surprisingly, when it came to how well “Likes” predicted voter turnout on Facebook, it was First Lady Michelle Obama and Mitt Romney’s VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) who predicted the most votes.
Also, because this is Facebook — election-themed memes were a large predictor of voter turnout, with “Big Bird” and “Binders Full of Women” leading the pack:
TPM has reached out to Facebook for further comment on its Election 2012 participation and will update when we receive a response.