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Twitter Battleground: California Prop 37

by Jane Susskind, published

As the election nears, the Social Ballot will be reporting on Twitter trends as they relate to the 2012 election in a series titled "Twitter Battleground." Follow the California and general election on Twitter with IVN using the hashtag #indyvote.

California will see eleven propositions on the November 6th ballot, dealing with issues ranging from tax increases to the death penalty. Among the choices Californians face is whether or not agricultural producers should be required to label genetically modified food. In a state where agriculture matters, Prop 37 is shaping out to be one of the most heated races of the election.

California Right To Know Campaign, Prop 37 on Twitter

Prop 37 on Twitter

The "Yes" campaign has coined the slogan California Right to Know, marketing their campaign on the idea that Californian's have a right to know what's in their food. Like in 61 other countries, they argue, labeling is simple and will enable consumers to make informed choices.

Amidst the flood of campaigning surrounding the 2012 election, how can California campaigns get through the noise and clutter being sent to weary California voters? One word: Twitter.

And a few tech-savvy California organizations are leading the way in the social media campaign. According to analysis compiled by Twitter and reported on by the Los Angeles Times, users tweeted most about Prop 37 on Twitter than any other proposition on the November ballot:

"Users mentioned the initiative 13,214 during that time. By comparison, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, drew 8,770 Twitter mentions."

What can this tell us about voter behavior? Not a lot.

"While the study is hardly a predictor of voter behavior, it signals increased interest from the public as election day nears and the airwaves are flooded with political ads. Tweets mentioning most of California's ballot measures have spiked in recent weeks."

The increase in social media mentions is reflective of the common trend of voters to tune into politics right before the election. What's interesting, however, is the disparity between the campaigns for and against Prop 37 on Twitter.

Opposition to Prop 37 on Twitter

Prop 37 Twitter

The "Yes" campaign, tweeting as @CaRightToKnow, has built a substantial following, with 66,754 followers as of today. They are interactive, tweet information, retweet their followers, share articles, and focus on media to engage their audience. Helping them spread the word is @JustLabelIt, another well branded, socially savvy organization in support of Prop 37.

And despite the $35.6 million being poured into the opposition, the "No" on Prop 37 campaign's social media skills are lacking. While the campaign is tweeting regularly, their numbers are nowhere close to the California Right To Know campaign, with just over 200 followers. From the looks of their online strategy, the opposition has not recognized the significance of digital media in the 2012 election.

Find out more about Prop 37 at the California Election Center

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