VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – We’re hearing the results of all kinds of public opinion polls heading into the federal election.  But what about the Social Election Experiment?  It’s a new social media take on the straw poll.

The question being asked is: Does popularity on Facebook translate into real world support in an election?

David Brodie with Optimum Public Relations says they’ve set up a national website that counts the number of Facebook ‘likes’ on each candidate’s fan page.

On election night, they’ll tally the results just like the ballots.  “Whichever candidate has the most ‘likes’ in a particular riding, we project out as the most liked candidate within that riding.”

He explains it’s an attempt to find out how closely social media trends mirror actual voting results.

“When you’ve got 16 million people on a social network and a lot of conversation taking place, you should certainly see some patterns emerging that aren’t all that dissimilar to the patterns you’re going to see in the general election.”

Brodie got the idea after research in the US showed nearly 80 per cent of Facebook ‘likes’ directly predicted the actual outcome of the 2010 House and Senate elections.   

This is the most extensive review that’s ever been done of Facebook and voting trends in Canada.