Need more proof that 2012 will be the Twitter election? Nielsen has found a strong correlation between online buzz and recently elected officials.

NM Incite, the social media analysis company from Nielsen and McKinsey, revisited four races during the 2010 midterm elections to measure the impact of social media on voters and found that in three out of the four battles, the candidates receiving the most social mentions won their seats.

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Analyzing 50 days of social buzz from Twitter, blogs, message boards, image sites, and online news sites, NM Incite discovered California Senator Barbara Boxer, who defeated opponent Carly Fiorina with 52 percent of votes, also won the buzz battle with a 55 percent share of social media mentions. Also in 2010, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Marin O’Mailey attracted 55 percent of social buzz and went on to win the seat with 56 percent of votes.

“The share of online buzz for each winning candidate was often higher than their percent of votes, demonstrating a strong correlation but not necessarily a causal relationship between social media and election results,” Nielsen said in its report.

NM Incite also found conversation was equally split between the parties, as Democratic and Republican candidates each captured 50 percent of total buzz.

Of course in social media time, 2010 is practically a different era, meaning that this year’s primaries and the climatic presidential election may not be so predictable. Even so, we certainly have to give President Obama kudos for once again going above and beyond in social outreach and taking his campaign to the people of Pinterest.

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