I know that Facebook numbers are not everything. It’s about change in the real world, activism etc.
But if at least clicking a ‘Like’ button on Facebook is some sort of symbol of political engagement, then this is how the Danish political parties stack up before the election due on September 15th. These figures are correct as of today, 31st August, and should be read against the checkfacebook.com stats for today showing 2723140 Danes have a Facebook account, and a population of Denmark of 5529888 according to the CIA World Factbook.
As well as the raw numbers I’ve added some activity scores from Facebook Grader and Momentus. The latter gives a more detailed breakdown of levels of activity on a page. These are of course no substitute for full research, but give a more complete picture than just totals numbers of likes.
Parties organised (roughly) from left to right
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen – 32655 (FB Grader: 87/100, Momentus: 100th percentile, 1468 Likes on posts/day)
Enhedslisten – 16127 (FB Grader: 82/100, Momentus: 100th percentile, 685 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 48782 (10.97%)
Villy Søvndal – 94391 (FB Grader: 92/100, Momentus: 97th percentile, 1355 Likes on posts/day)
SF – 11736 (FB Grader: 79/100, Momentus: 94th percentile, 80 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 106127 (23.87%)
Helle Thorning-Schmidt – 112964 (FB Grader: 93/100, Momentus: 95th percentile, 1051 Likes on posts/day)
Socialdemokraterne – 31100 (app, cannot grade)
Socialdemokraternes supportergruppe – 9846 (FB Grader: 78/100, Momentus: 95th percentile, 98 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 153910 (34.61%)
Margrethe Vestager – 22305 (FB Grader: 84/100, Momentus: 97th percentile, 337 Likes on posts/day)
Radikale Venstre – 6793 (FB Grader: 75/100, Momentus: 98th percentile, 146 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 29098 (6.54%)
Anders Samuelsen – 222 (FB Grader: 36/100, Momentus: 0th percentile, 0 Likes on posts/day)
Liberal Alliance – 9860 (FB Grader: 78/100, Momentus: 99th percentile, 257 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 10082 (2.27%)
Lars Løkke Rasmussen – 58763 (FB Grader: 90/100, Momentus: 98th percentile, 1013 Likes on posts/day)
Venstre – 7723 (FB Grader: 76/100, Momentus: 98th percentile, 129 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 66486 (14.95%)
Bjarne Hartung Kirkegaard – 41 (FB Grader: 13/100, Momentus: 0th percentile, 0 Likes on posts/day)
Kristendemokraterne – 176 (FB Grader: 31/100, Momentus: 45th percentile, 0 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 217 (0.05%)
Lars Barfoed – 3682 (FB Grader: 68/100, Momentus: 95th percentile, 35 Likes on posts/day)
Konservative – 4733 (FB Grader: 70/100, Momentus: 97th percentile, 66 Likes on posts/day)
Total Likes – 8415 (1.89%)
Total Likes (all parties and leaders) – 444643
This total figure is over 15% of the Danish population on Facebook, but of course the research does not deal with overlaps (percentages liking more than 1 leader or party).
Anyway, what to conclude from this?
Firstly, the left is doing much better than the right, with the Social Democrats and SF far in the lead in terms of Facebook recruitment. Dansk Folkeparti does not seem to even have an organised Facebook presence. This could reflect the traditional demographics of the parties, the amount of online organisation, better leaders, or the freedom of being in opposition, or some combination of those factors.
Secondly, in a European comparison the numbers are impressive – Puglia governor Nichi Vendola is the European leader with 518356 likes (more than 3 x Helle’s total), but he’s from a country with 10 x the population of Denmark. So per head of population Helle is probably Europe’s most popular politician on Facebook.
Thirdly, the stats for party leaders are almost universally larger than the parties themselves – character matters in the campaign for Facebook support.
Fourth, the amount of content added daily by admins (and hence the number of likes) varies a lot. Søvndal and Schmidt-Nielsen update more often and generate more reaction. Particularly Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s level of activity is lower than it should be, considering she’s clear leader in terms of number of Page Likes.
More work needs to be done to look into this, but I hope this post is food for thought (or a pølse til eftertanke or something like that).
NOTE: this post has been updated and corrected a couple of times, but the Like numbers are correct as of 30th August.
Thanks to the comment from Norwegian Guy below, I have looked at a few right wing, populist parties across Europe, and indeed the numbers are odd. Dansk Folkeparti (see above) and Vlaams Belang in Belgium (party – 8982 Likes, leader – no presence) are poor. FPÖ in Austria (leader – 104512 Likes, party – no presence, just a community page), and Fremskrittspartiet in Norway (leader – 66209 Likes, party – 36967 Likes) are performing very well. Depends on the style of a leader’s populism?