Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 4:57 pm
By Aarti Shahani
While Iowa caucusgoers are kicking off the official 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest, in the social media realm among users nationwide, Texas Rep. Ron Paul already is in the lead, according to a data analysis of Facebook use by Socialbakers, which collects social media statistics.
"The amount of interactions are just insane," said Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab. "Ten percent of Paul's Facebook fans are talking about him. The average for brands like Coca-Cola is just 1 percent."
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. All of the attention that Iowa has gotten in the past year comes to a head tonight. Nearly 2000 precincts across that state will record the first votes in the presidential nominating contest. At most sites, Iowans will write a name on a blank piece of paper and put it in a box.
The results from Iowa suggest what has been clear for months: Republicans remain divided about their presidential choices.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney eked out an eight-vote win after he and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum swapped the slimmest of leads back and forth in Tuesday's caucuses. With returns complete, each had won the support of roughly 25 percent of caucusgoers.
Despite the near-tie, Iowa caucus rules do not allow for a recount. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was third at 21.5 percent, according to The Associated Press.
Newt Gingrich is making his closing arguments to voters in the Mississippi River towns of Muscatine and Burlington in advance of Tuesday's Republican party caucuses and that argument boils down to this: Gingrich is better, smarter and more experienced than the rest.
For Iowa Republicans, it's the end a yearlong getting-to-know-you process with the candidates. NPR's Sonari Glinton sat down with a group of caucus-goers to talk about how they plan to vote and how they made up their minds.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Drive due west of downtown Des Moines on I-80 and you get to Van Meter, Iowa. It's a city that has about 1,300 residents. I met up with nine of them over a few pitchers of beer on the eve of the caucuses to talk politics, the Republican field and Iowa. Hello.