Peter Gibbons researches politics on Facebook

What if everything you knew about politics came from the internet?  What if people based their vote on which politician was the most popular on or Bebo?  It’s unlikely and a bit of a nightmare scenario really but on-line sources of information are becoming increasingly important for voters. 

To test my vague theory in New Zealand politics, I searched on Facebook for each party leader and examined the groups supporting and, in some cases opposing, them.  Here are the results:

(National) – 14,388 supporters.  Interestingly the “I HEART John Key” and “Scientologists for John Key” groups have exactly the same number of members.  I’m presuming they are the same people.

(United Nations) – 5, 408 supporters.

(Labour) – 1,112 members of a group wanting him to be Prime Minister in 2011 and 3 in a quite different group who think he is a DILF.  Look up what it means at your peril.

(Act) – 719 supporters.

(Green) – 567 supporters.  His on-line presence grew significantly when I spelled his first name correctly in the search field.

(Green) – 339 supporters.

Winston Peters (Retired) – 236 supporters for Prime Minister, 11 supporters for next year’s Dancing with the Stars.  Both quite terrifying prospects really.

(Progressive) – 17 supporters, much higher than expected.

(Maori Party) – No Facebook groups supporting him but a couple which are worryingly opposed (and in apparent breach of Facebook policies).

(Maori Party) – No Facebook groups supporting or opposing her.  There is one offering to be a support group for Mrs Turia going back to school but the tag is “just for fun – outlandish statements.”

(United Future) – Mr Dunne does not have an official supporters group.  The group “I lost my phone drinking in London – numbers please!!! (Peter Dunne)” is almost certainly not him.  Peter Dunne does not strike me as the kind of man who, under any circumstances, would use three exclamation points.