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Romney 2012: "Corporations are People" Beating "If You Want Higher Taxes, Vote Obama" Online

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 12 2011

Last night, about 90 minutes before the start of the Republican presidential candidates debate in Iowa, the Mitt Romney campaign sent out an email to its list entitled, "Mitt's Iowa Moment." The email had three purposes: 1) to fundraise (duh); 2) to highlight Romney's unscripted response to some hecklers at the Iowa State Fair that showcased his opposition to raising taxes (and deflect attention away from his other unscripted statement that "corporations are people, my friends," and 3) to get people to share the video with others.

How did they do? Well, it turns out that it's pretty easy to compare the Romney campaign's pro-active message push with the organic interest that surfaced online around his "corporations are people" statement. And the news for the Romney campaign isn't great.

First, take a look at how usage of the hashtag #mitt2012, which was promoted by Romney's email, compares to the appearance of the phrase "corporations are people" on Twitter in the last 24 hours:

That's from Topsy. Not very good. The campaign's custom bit.ly account link (http://mi.tt/niPD1f) shows only 20 clicks to the video.

Then look at how the Romney campaign's promotion of his "If you want higher taxes, vote for Barack Obama" YouTube video compares to his "corporations are people" statement. The campaign's video, which was prominently linked to in yesterday's email, has garnered about 3,600 views so far (of a ten-second clip). Videos about his "corporations are people" statement, by contrast, have earned tens of thousands of views and appear on multiple accounts, including the one below from Slate's David Wiegel, which had more than 21,000 alone.

Over on Facebook, the Romney campaign's sharing of his anti-taxes pledge at the Iowa State Fair has garnered 14,500 likes. That's very good, much higher than the average number of likes his posts get on his Facebook page, which has more than one million fans.

But out in the wild of other people's personal pages, where Facebookers are talking with each other organically, there's another bad sign for Romney: the phrase "corporations are people" is getting , with specific reference to Romney. There's also some chatter on Facebook on the phrase "if you want higher taxes," with reference to Obama, but not nearly as much. Facebook updates on the first phrase are appearing more than once a minute, while the latter is about once every 20-30 minutes.

All told, the Romney campaign may feel that its email generated a good response. But it also appears that the "corporations are people" statement is going to stick to Romney's image, too, in ways that may not help his chances.

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