The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

US Elections - how the results of my poll differs from the rest of the media

As America goes to vote today, the polls put the race between Obama and Romney as... pretty darn close.

Which I found surprising, as over the past few months, my Facebook news feed has been flooded with horrifying stories and cartoons lampooning Romney, while most of the stuff about Obama seems to be that he is a saint.

In essence, the message I have been fed is that if you are a lying, conniving, white, male billionaire, then vote Romney, but if you have ovaries, any kind of skin colouring, or the slightest hint of compassion for your fellow human, then you have to vote Obama.

I refuse to believe half of all Americans are rich, selfish white men, so how come the candidates are neck and neck?

I thought I’d do some research of my own on Facebook.

At first glance it’s pretty straightforward – Romney has 12 million likes but Obama has nearly 32 million – over 2½ times as many.

However, we have to take into consideration Obama has been in the spotlight for longer than Romney, this being his 2nd time running for president - which will skew the figures. Evidence for this is one of my friends who Facebook tells me likes Obama died 3 years ago, but his like remains.

Figuring my 485 still-alive-as-far-as-I-know friends represented a reasonable sample, I looked to see who had liked the pages of the two contenders. This was the result.

Friends who have liked Romney’s Facebook Page: 5
Friends who have liked Obama’s Facebook Page: 38

So, with more than 7 times as many people liking Obama than Romney, even allowing for Romney’s shorter Facebook exposure time, it still didn’t make sense of the media polls.

But then looking in more detail at my lists, I realised 22 of the Obama supporters and 1 of the Romney supporters didn’t live in America, so wouldn’t be able to vote anyway. A quick extrapolation indicates Obama is even more popular outside the US than within.

However, this still leaves 16 to 4 in favour of Obama inside America, which is more than enough to thoroughly trounce Romney.

So is it that the media is biased towards the right, or is it that my Facebook friends are biased to the left?

Well given that I’m apparently a political extremist (see my post, Political Compass), it wouldn’t be surprising if more of my friends leaned politically to the left than the right, and thus are likely to be less reflective of the population at large.

Of course another way of interpreting my findings is 442 (485 minus 38 minus 5) of my friends really can't find the enthusiasm to get worked up about it either way.

13 comments

Anna van Schurman said...

I'm voting but I don't like either of them. Also, since most of my inlaws are outside of America, and I chose to marry into that family, I'm pretty sure you know who I am voting for. Also, I have ovaries. ;)

Carole said...

Well as you know, I am one of your conservative friends. However I actually thought Obama might be a good switch in 2008. I still like him. But as you know I work at a church and I see so many people who have lost jobs, homes, and self-respect in the last two years. People come in to the church seeking help in ten times the number they did two years ago. My own son lost a good job (company went under) and was on unemployment for a year before he took a job that actually paid him less than unemployment, just to be in the work force again. So yes indeed, I like Obama. And no, I clearly cannot vote for him. I have a hard time believing that having the ability to pay your bills and have a job is more evil than say voting ovaries (which I do have).

And by the way free birth control seems an odd reason to vote for a president. I want a face lift, but just because I have ovaries doesn't mean the government should pay for it.

Pat said...

I have problems enough trying to make sense of politics in my own country so the US is off limits for me.

I know more about Obama and like him and his family -for what it's worth.

savannah said...

4 more years! i voted for President Obama. but then you already knew that xoxoxoxo

angryparsnip said...

Kim, your poll deductions is just as good as any ones so far. Plus a lot more interesting.
It was so great to see Carole comment. I miss hearing from her. Plus I so agree with what she said. I am also a conservative.

cheers, parsnip

Kim Ayres said...

Anna, Carole, Pat, Savannah & Parsnip - thank you for your comments :)

Interesting - the comments so far are perhaps more reflective of the polls - 4 Americans who are split evenly between Obama and Romney, with one non-American who favours Obama.

Mind you, it's an all female response so far. Where are my male followers?

Then again, I've always had more female commenters than male. I wrote about it 5 years ago (see Comments), and it hasn't changed much :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Being on the outside, I get to watch, listen.

I get a good giggle hearing the family stories - about the Democrat wife married to the Republican man, or the aunt who's convinced her husband that he MUST choose HER party.

On tv, the American media people are saying that the American economy is beginning to pick up and will continue to do well no matter who wins. Which baffles me. Doesn't Obama get any credit at all?

That's why I don't do politics.

hope said...

Oh my favorite poll is the one where if the Washington Redskins win their last home game before the election, the incumbent will win re-election.

I hear the Redskins lost. In a few hours I guess we'll find out who knows more: political pundits or football bookies. ;)

Hindsfeet said...

hey way-over-there... : )

I logged on today specifically cuz I wanted to get your intelligent take on yesterday's events....

...as usual, your intelligence does not disappoint......(always intrigues, but that's another comment : ) ....

...leaving my political leanings out of it, stepping outside the trees for a moment to better see the forest, I had the same wonderings as you did...the media's take seemed skewed.

My theory, is this: the tool of media is a powerful one, and has long been used -for better and for worse - to sway public oppinion, political outcomes, etc. I think you and I both know that our media here in America definitely, for the most part, does *not* lean to the right, which left me with *this* conclusion: Being an entity which leans to the left, I think there was a concern that their presidential darling did *not* have this one in the bag as they would've liked to purport, so make it a race, create drama....If they asserted too much confidence in their candidate, his constituents might take on a certain apathetic ambivalence and not bother voting, if the whole thing was in the bag, compromising the chances of Obama's re-election.

So, in my view, the media's misleading tactic was pretty much a cattle prod.

Just an objective thought, my two cents which may, or may not, be worth two cents...

always appreciate your thoughts, Kim, hope you keep 'em comin' for a long time...

be well, m'friend,
Liz~*

allencapoferri said...

Here's one vote from a Yank who can say I'm feed up with politics. Here's one reason I'd like to share remembered from last election when queued up to vote. The woman in front of looked at me and knew I was the enemy because of my race.

Kim Ayres said...

Congratulations to those who wanted Obama to win, and commiserations to those who preferred Romney. Just 3 and half years until it starts all over again...

Allen - what a sad woman :(

LegalMist said...

I think you captured the essence of the candidates quite well. And no, half of Americans aren't white male billionaires, but many of them are white male millionaire wannabes with limited education, a fondness for Faux (Fox) News, and the delusion that if they work hard enough at their low income jobs, they'll become millionaires, or even billionaires... And so they vote for the billionaire lackeys, hoping it will be good for them in the future.

Kim Ayres said...

Legalmist - I did ask a well educated republcian white male millionaire wannabe I know about his thoughts, and his opinion was they couldn't get enough of the republican support out on the day because he was considered too much of a liberal. In some circles, apparently, he was viewed as a closet democrat and despite his later rhetoric, they didn't believe him.

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