Culminating with two Republican debates over the weekend, one of which was hosted by Facebook, there has been some serious campaigning over the last few months in our neighboring state of New Hampshire. The first in a series of nationwide Republican party elections, the New Hampshire primary garners considerable press coverage and is viewed by many as a strong indicator of how candidates will perform over the course of the entire campaign.

With New Hampshire voters flocking to the polls throughout today, we turned to Facebook and the Nanigans’ Ad Engine to predict the winner, as judged by interest in the candidates on Facebook by New Hampshire residents. The result:

As political polls and analysts also predict, Mitt Romney comes out on top in our Facebook analysis (note: Romney has a summer home in New Hampshire). He is also the only candidate who comes close to competing with President Obama on Facebook. A runner up, with approximately half the reach of Romney, is Ron Paul. Newt Gingrich falls in third place, with a quarter of the interest Paul enjoys. Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum round out the bottom three in the race.

Momentum

Which candidate seems to have the most momentum across the United States? In September we looked at each candidates’ interest base on Facebook, and below shows growth since:


Huntsman has enjoyed the greatest increase in supporters since September, no doubt due in part to his socially savvy daughters. Perry and Romney have seen the least significant increase, with 24% and 28% increases in their interest bases on Facebook since September.

Importance of New Hampshire

How important is the New Hampshire primary to each candidate? We compared New Hampshire interest to the candidates’ entire interest base in the United States:

As you can see from the graph above, winning in New Hampshire seems most critical to the Huntsman campaign, with 2.1% of his national interest coming from New Hampshire. Interestingly, 1.3% of Rick Santorum’s interest base resides in New Hampshire, even though he falls last in our prediction of the race outcome.

Demographics

Next, we dove into the demographics of each candidate’s New Hampshire interest base . When it comes to gender, all have a larger portion of male than female supporters. President Obama, on the other hand, has a slightly larger portion of female supporters in the state. Paul and Gingrich have the lowest fraction of female supporters at 29% and 31%, respectively.

Judging by the graph below, age seems to be a contributing factor to candidate support. Romney, Perry and Santorum seem to have greater interest from older New Hampshire residents. Paul and Huntsman, on the other hand, have greater interest from younger New Hampshire residents; however, both pale in comparison to President Obama, with 50% of his interest base in New Hampshire under the age of 30.

Does anything surprise you about the Facebook data above? Let us know in the comments!

Editor’s note: Cheryl is part of BostInno’s Insider Network. This post first appeared on Nanigans blog.