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'Likes' vs. votes: Interactive map tracks candidates' Facebook popularity

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Who do you like in the coming presidential election? You can now track the number of "likes" candidates receive on Facebook right down to your state and county, by using a color-coded, interactive map of the United States.

The map is the result of a study by New York research firm "Five Thirty Eight." It tracks Facebook "likes" of candidates on the map. You can look at it nationwide or narrow it down to your own neighborhood.

But how accurate is it at predicting the outcome of an election?

Not very.

Reuben Fischer-Baum helped create the map. He says who you like isn't necessary who you'll vote for. He points out that in Iowa, where Facebook users like Ben Carson and Donald Trump far more than anyone else in the still-crowded Republican race for the presidential nomination. In reality, the Iowa caucuses showed Ted Cruz winning the Republican race and Hillary Clinton barely eking out a victory over Bernie Sanders.

Why the difference?

For one thing, Fischer-Baum says, who you like in this race may change over time, but you probably won't go back and cancel your "like" on Facebook. Still, he says it's an interesting way to track the candidate's Internet ground game. FiveThirtyEight plans to compare the map to actual wins and losses when the race is over in November.

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View the map here ...

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