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Santorum Surges in Polls, But Social Media Presence Remains Mostly Stagnant

Santorum Surges in Polls, But Social Media Presence Remains Mostly Stagnant


  • Special Guest post by Esteban L. Hernandez

    It appears that former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is the latest GOP hopeful gaining formidable momentum. Santorum’s surge arrives in a crucial stage of the election season, as candidates have been in Iowa attempting to swoon its citizens as the state's primary approaches on Tuesday.

    Santorum’s surge may be due to his relentless campaigning effort in the Hawkeye State; he was the only candidate to visit all 99 counties in the state. His approach has paid dividends with potential voters, as he now stand behind Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in likability polls.

    He’s so popular in fact, that a Pizza Ranch manager in Boone, Iowa, renamed one of the restaurants chicken salad a “Santorum Salad.”

    On Twitter, the use of the phrase and has tag #santorumentum grew on Monday, even though it had been used on Twitter as early as December 26. On Google, stats from the site’s Insight for Search suggest that since December 25, the amount of searches for ‘Rick Santorum’ has grown significantly.

  • Controversial comments made during a Sunday campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, did cause a bit of a reaction on Twitter. After being asked a question on foreign influence by an audience member, he told the crowd that he doesn’t want to “make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." This comment comes days after Santorum said that “If we celebrate diversity, we lay the groundwork for that conflict.”

    Santorum’s Twitter handle, @RickSantorum, has actually seen a sporadic up-and-down follower count. Recently, his handle lost about 95 followers, which will largely go unnoticed as he has more than 54,000 followers. His Facebook page has 42,300 likes, with some 9,000 mentions. A modest following of 751 subscribers follow Santorum’s YouTube channel, with a total of 742,582 upload views.

    So while Santorum may be surging in the polls, his social media presence didn’t really reflect this change. However, with Tuesday’s caucus, Santorum’s momentum in the polls may transfer to his online presence too.

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