Will Facebook Predict the 2012 Presidential Elections?

As election season nears, social networking sites are buzzing with opinions, news and candidate information.  Leveraging the estimated 150 million Facebook users in the US, political candidates and current officials have turned to Facebook to connect directly with their constituencies.  Is it possible that Facebook could predict the next US president? Inside Facebook's 2012 Election Tracker could be the modern day crystal ball, monitoring fan growth and marketing reach on Facebook for electoral campaigns. The 2012 Election Tracker gathers Facebook activity for presidential primary candidates and current elected officials. The intention is to highlight the candidates' efforts in social media and further analyze the role of Facebook on the campaign trail.  Data will be added for 2012 house, senate and gubernatorial races as candidates for those races are added.

As of September 29, 2011, 4.2 million people have identified themselves as Republicans on Facebook, versus just 1.3 million Democrats and 96,000 Independents.  Mitt Romney is the favored Republican candidate with over 1.1 million fans and Michelle Bachmann is in second place with 461,000 fans. Barack Obama, listed as the only Democrat candidate, blows everyone out of the water with 23.3 million Facebook fans.

As information is gathered and predictions are made for the 2012 elections, social media may be an important factor for evaluating candidates' influence amongst key demographics.  Do you plan on sharing your political views with your Facebook friends?