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A review of the number of Facebook “likes” obtained by the Republican presidential candidates illustrates again that the grassroots strongly desires something different in 2016.
Candidates perceived as part of the “establishment,” such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki had surprisingly few followers considering their name recognition and experience. My initial research revealed Jeb Bush had the most followers amongst the establishment candidates -right at 280,10 at that time. Comparatively, Dr. Carson, was leading the pack among the “outsiders.” He had 3,821,488.
However, all of those considered outsiders, including Trump, Carson, Cruz and Fiorina, as well as those considered a bridge between the outsiders and the establishment, like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, were faring better on Facebook and Twitter than their establishment counterparts. Santorum had the lowest number of Facebook Likes, at 265, 810 followers – not far off from Jeb Bush. If presidential candidates were decided exclusively based upon grassroots support, without major donors to prop up establishment candidates, they’d be in trouble.
The article also notes how some of these outsiders, such as Ben Carson, actually increased the number of their “likes” immediately after they has said something that the press had called a miscue or a mistake and which they thought would end their campaign. Instead, they gained strength on Facebook.
As I’ve said for months, as soon as the real voting begins Jeb Bush will vanish. The Republican voter does not want another Bush, no matter how much money and organization he has. They also do not want a Kasich, a Graham, a Christie, or a Pataki, all of whom have demonstrated their willingness to abandon conservative ideas at the drop of a hat. Instead, the voters want someone not part of the Washington machine who will be willing to change things there. These data makes this fact quite clear.