Friday, February 24, 2006

Facebook Statistics on Political Involvement at UNC

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." --Benjamin Disraeli

In this case we are interested in the third. I’m a university student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a place that Bob Novak reportedly told Paul Begala only cares about two things: “basketball and liberalism”. However, looking at the statistics provided by the Pulse feature of Facebook for Chapel Hill, and admitting beforehand this is decidedly unscientific, I found some interesting things.

Namely that while there may be more liberals than conservatives at Carolina, the majority of both males and females refrained from identifying themselves as either liberal or conservative (59% of males and 53% of females), preferring to not list political ideology (the most popular option amongst males and females) or identifying themselves as moderate, libertarian, apathetic, or other.

The other finding deals with a census of listed clubs or organizations and Facebook groups. At Chapel Hill, the College Republicans are the sixth most listed club or organization (215 individuals), with the Young Democrats not even appearing on the top ten (171 individuals). While relatively surprising considering that more of the student body identifies as liberal than conservative, this actually is in line with national trends: the nationwide aggregated Facebook club statistics show College Republicans as the second most popular club in the nation with College Democrats coming in tenth. The interesting part deals with Facebook group membership.

UNC College Republicans has 610 members while Unc Young Democrats has 283 members, not even half the numbers of the Republicans. Maybe there are more liberals, but they don’t seem to be aligning themselves with the Democratic organizations on campus, while the Republicans seem to have been able to do a better job of getting (at least nominal) involvement from the conservative population on campus. The idea that Young Democrats is not successfully getting the involvement of even the identified Democrat population of campus is evidenced by the huge membership of other groups. Democrats are Sexy...Who Ever Heard of a Great Piece of Elephant? has 745 members, more than UNC College Republicans and ridiculously more than Unc Young Democrats.

Clearly, there are some obvious sources of error in these findings, but the general trends that are pointed at seem to have a grain of truth in them and gibe with common sense. Below is a list of the collected data for your pleasure and use.

Facebook Statistics
Taken between 12am and 1 am on Friday, February 24, 2006

5% very liberal
19% liberal
18% moderate
15% conservative
2% very conservative
2% libertarian
4% apathetic
5% other

30% didn’t respond

6% very liberal
26% liberal
17% moderate
14% conservative
1% very conservative
1% libertarian
1% apathetic
2% other

32% didn’t respond

Listed under clubs and organizations
College Republicans 215 listed (Ranked 6)
Young Democrats 171 listed (not in top 10)

UNC College Republicans has 610 members
Unc Young Democrats has 283 members
Democrats are Sexy...Who Ever Heard of a Great Piece of Elephant? has 745 members


Post a Comment

<< Home