Santorum's social surge follows national poll

In the lead up to his close second place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum's Facebook fandom surged ahead as well.

In the lead up to his close second place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum's Facebook fandom surged ahead as well. Socialbakers, a social analytics firm, found that Santorum increased his Facebook fans by more than 100% in the last 30 days.

He is also a bigger Facebook sharer than his fellow top three Iowa finishers (Mitt Romney and Ron Paul). He shared more Facebook videos (36) and at least five times as many posts compared to Romney and Paul, according to Socialbakers. 

All that stumping apparently makes for good content. Part of that surge, though, is also related to how far behind Santorum was in terms of Facebook fans in comparison to the other candidates. Not that fans are everything. It's how you activate them. Prior to Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had more fans than Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum combined, if we use Socialbakers' previous tallies. Guess who is no longer in the race?

(The full results from this latest social breakdown can be seen in Socialbakers infographic below.)

So how closely do social media tallies align with actual election results? In national polls, Santorum has also leapt into the top tier, capturing third place in a recent CBS News poll.

Politicos will tune in tonight to watch the results of the New Hampshire Republican primary where a record voter turnout is expected. Although Romney, the former governor of neighboring state Massachusetts and part-time resident of New Hampshire, is expected to win, many eyes will be monitoring the precise percentage points among all the front-runners and how wide of a berth he puts between them. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Representative Ron Paul are in close pursuit in New Hampshire.

Romney's 1.3 million Facebook fans dwarf his Republican competitors' Facebook efforts thus far and speak to his lead in national polls and in New Hampshire, as well as a polished, savvy campaign with a significant budget. Of course, they don't match the incumbent's 24.4 Facebook fans - all of which will be at the president's reelection campaign's disposal for potential activation.

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