I recently updated the Klout scores for all the Presidential candidates on GovSM. Interestingly, despite the recent sexual harassment accusations, Herman Cain’s Klout score has continued to rise. Over the past month he has added nearly 4 points to his score (and continued to gain during the accusations) while other leading candidate scores have remained relatively flat (President Obama, Romney, Perry).
The entire issue of whether Klout scores provide any value has been debated for a long time. For me, the score numbers themselves are meaningless. As is most of the information gathered about a single user in a vacuum. However, I think there is some valuable information that can be gathered by comparing Klout scores of social media accounts from users in similar fields, such as athletes or authors. In this case, I think Klout can be very useful in comparing candidates for President.
By following political social media accounts and their statistical breakdowns over time, we can glean some useful information. Namely, that the odds of Cain’s messages being shared has not changed, rather his total number of followers has grown (by the thousands). As an increasing number of the public becomes familiar with Cain (for whatever reason), he is attracting social media followers. And those followers are sharing and responding to his messages to an equal rate as before. Which means that not many are following him to watch him implode – he is attracting new and curious GOP voters.
With Gallup’s newest polling (polled during the sexual harassment accusation) showing Cain gaining in the horse-race polls and tied with Romney, I think Cain’s follower count and Klout score track very well with his popularity increase in the polls. What will be interesting to see after the GOP primary and 2012 election is whether social media statistics and derived scores can be a useful predictor of future electoral success.
(For the record, at the time of this writing, Intrade is only giving Cain a 4% chance of winning the nomination).