While some have contested that Nate Silver is having a bad year in terms of predicting the outcome for the 2016 presidential election, the famed journalist and statistician isn't down for the count yet. His website, FiveThirtyEight, published an extensive map of the United States that displays which geographic outcroppings are voting for which primary candidate - all with data collected from Facebook.
The aggregated data compiled to create the interactive map, which lets users click on each respective state to see a county-by-county breakdown of which area supports which candidate, was gleaned from a count of Facebook likes - more specifically, the number of sample users who "liked" a candidate's Facebook page.
Only two days after declaring entrepreneur and Twitter addict Donald Trump the de facto front-runner of the GOP primary, the site posited that the billionaire was ahead by 23 percent, tied with Democratic candidate and political maverick Bernie Sanders. The map falls in line with the latest results from the New Hampshire primary, which named both presidential hopefuls as the leading delegates (Trump with 35.3 percent, and Sanders with an overwhelming 60.4 percent, beating opponent Hillary Clinton's 38.0 percent of the state's vote by a ratio of three to one).
As the site noted, the likes used for the map data could be considered an inaccurate representation of the final primary outcome - although 58 percent of American adults (and subsequently 58 percent of the population eligible to vote) use Facebook actively, according to the Pew Research Center, FiveThirtyEight notes that frequent Facebook users tend to veer toward a younger set, as well as "low-income and female," all demographics which tend to identify as liberal.
The site also stressed that "only some people on Facebook have liked a presidential candidate's page" - meaning that the polling sample used isn't necessarily indicative of the political preferences of Facebook users as a whole, and thereby not necessarily accurate.
Either way, there's no denying that the map reflects the latest primary turnout; we'll just have to wait until the next primary election in South Carolina on Feb. 20, as well as the response from the Nevada caucus the same day, to see how representative of the public's opinion the map remains.