A deadly calm descended over my Facebook yesterday; for the last week, its been bombarded with statuses, YouTube videos, manifesto points and pictures from SUSU Election 2013 candidate pages (probably my own fault for liking them all).
Indeed, it seems you can’t run in politics without the use of social media anymore with online campaigning now given a whole week in the SUSU elections. And only two candidates have chosen not to make a Facebook fan page for themselves – one of those being a ‘parody’ candidate.
With full campaigning now open – and the concourse set to become the heart of electioneering, posters and slogans – we take a look at Facebook likes to see who has the early advantage.
Please Note: Facebook Likes is an unreliable method of polling: with a very small minority of students liking fan pages; many likes coming from non-students who cannot vote; students can like more than one page as well as the fact that it fails to account for the alternative vote system.
Special thanks to Alastair Mogford who made this webpage and made this process a lot easier. All ‘like’ totals correct at 00:00 on Saturday Evening.
President seems to be a contest between two front-runners of current VP Comms David Giliani and Peter ‘Pewee’ Ward who are the only two candidates to have got past 200 likes; it is extremely close with Giliani currently on 207 and Pewee on 204. Ellis Sims and Sophie Bradfield seem to be giving the pair a run for their money, however, with Sims on 150 and Bradfield standing on 116 likes. Understandably, the ‘joke’ candidates of Jim Dykes and Michelle Dando are at the back of the field (82 and 60 respectively); David Cattermole, another ‘parody’ candidate has no Facebook page. This looks likely to be a four-horse race then – despite Giliani and Pewee quite a way ahead of the chasing pack. After the fiery debate and the alternative Vote (AV) voting system, all have a realistic chance of becoming president with all to play for in the coming week.
VP Democracy & Creative Industries was always going to be an interesting one, after the shuffle of Sabbatical responsibility brought both SUSU Media and Performance Arts under one umbrella. Despite rumours, there are in fact two candidates standing, it seems that David Martin, who comes from a Media background, has convinced more voters so far with nearly three times as many likes as John North. North, who is from a PA background and is lagging behind Martin’s 90 likes with 35. The spanner in the works is that North only made a group on Monday; two days after online campaigning began. Nonetheless, Facebook still points towards a Martin advantage.
VP Education seems to be the closest race on the cards, with only 14 Facebook likes splitting David Mendoza-Wolfson and Dessie Nedyalkova. Indeed, the two have been virtually neck-and-neck throughout the week, though David has now taken a slim advantage with 122 likes to Dessie’s 108. Nonetheless, with both coming from different backgrounds – Dessie as a Academic President and David as a leading member of a political society – it looks like it will be an interesting battle between the two.
VP Engagement has three candidates vying for the position; Fiona Cook, Claire Gilbert and Adam Moloney. Facebook currently seems to indicate a win for Claire, who is sitting pretty with 137 likes; a total close to that of the other candidates put together with Cook on 89 and Maloney on 52. With the AV voting format then, everything is still to play for then.
VP Sports Development also seems to indicate a two-horse race between Evan Whyte and Kate Williams, with 154 and 172 likes respectively – the highest amount of likes outside the President zone. The results are massively skewed, however, with Sam Crabb getting on the social media hype late, only making his page on Monday attaining 42 likes so far, whilst Alex Mortlock is the only ‘serious’ candidate who does not have a page.
VP Student Communities is another head-to-head contest between James Brant & Oli Coles, after Jessica Taylor – the only student running from Winchester School of Art – pulled out last week. As it currently stands, Coles has a healthy-lead with 151 likes compared to Brant’s 89, especially considering Coles created his group three days later.
VP Welfare is the hardest fought campaign outside of that for President with five candidates standing for the position – perhaps even more so than the President considering there are three ‘parody’ candidates in that fight. At the moment, the contest seems to be mainly centring around the pair of Sophie Brewer and Josie Torrice, who are the only two of the five to break past the hundred-barrier with 151 and 114 respectively. In fact, if you add the total likes of the two lowest charted candidates of Josh Cox (66) and Jared Anderson (53), they would still be below the pair. Beckie Thomas lies third with 70, making it seem close to certain that the Chloe Green’s replacement will be female.
So that’s that. Facebook has its winners so far, with some candidates looking like they have an advantage – but with campaigning about to get into full swing, an intriguing battle lies ahead.[poll id=”12″]