Forget the Rasmussen Poll out today that shows U.S. Sen. Dean Heller nine points ahead of Rep. Shelley Berkley, or the recent ad wars back and forth between the two over ethics. In the battle for social media, Heller is pulling ahead.
On Twitter and Facebook, across myriad pages and accounts, Heller has collected thousands more followers and likes than Berkley. Whether it translates into electoral success or not, the Republican’s web savvy is showing in the numbers.
Heller’s campaign Twitter account (@DeanHeller) has 5,775 followers, dwarfing Berkley’s main campaign Twitter account (@Berkley4Senate), which has 1,091. (Two other Berkley-related accounts, perhaps reserved for the campaign but not really in use, have 22 and 11 followers, respectively.)
Berkley’s official congressional Twitter account (@RepBerkley) does have 3,607 followers, far outpacing Heller’s official Senate account (@SenDeanHeller), which only has 2,986. Then again, Berkley has been in Congress a lot longer than Heller, which his campaign delights in pointing out. (Heller’s former congressional Twitter account — @RepDeanHeller — has a tiny 117 followers.)
Heller — as Berkley’s camp delights in noting — was appointed to the Senate in late April 2011 after the resignation of scandal-plagued John Ensign. He took office in early May 2011, after resigning his seat in the House.
All told, via their various personas on Twitter, Heller has a grand total of 8,878 followers and Berkley boasts 4,731. (Please note that some followers on official and campaign accounts may be duplicates.)
Over on Facebook, Heller also leads, and with fewer pages. Berkley has a personal page (1,997 friends), a group (Shelley Berkley for U.S. Senate 2012, with 257 members), a fan page (Shelley Berkley for Senate, with 2,236 likes) and a little-used campaign page, with 494 likes. Grand total: 4,968 friends and likes.
Heller boasts only a single campaign page, but has collected 9,684 likes on it.
Now, a person’s savvy on the Internet and ability to collect followers isn’t necessarily indicative of political success (otherwise, Howard Dean would be president and Anthony Weiner would still be in Congress). But as social media increasingly becomes a communication, organizing and fundraising tool, friends, followers and likes will more and more going to be counted as political capital.
Shamless plug alert: BTW, thanks to both Heller and Berkley for following me on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) through both campaign and official accounts!
(Editor’s note: Friends/likes/followers total were current as of the times the pages were visited this afternoon.)