Which 2012’er is winning the Internet?

at 09:30 AM ET, 08/14/2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) won the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has already dropped out of the race after a disappointing third-place finish. While the straw-poll results are an important part of the campaign, they are not always an accurate predictor of the evenual Republican nominee against President Obama.

But how are the candidates faring on an even bigger stage? The Post used three tools to measure which of the candidates participating in the weekend’s straw poll is winning the war for Internet buzz.

We used two free online tools to reach these findings (which were measured over the course of the past month). Klout scores measure how powerful Twitter users are based on their reach and the level of influence they have on their network of followers. Herman Cain was the king of Klout.

We also used a tool called Social Mention to get a grip on the feelings about the candidates on Twitter and Facebook.

The results showed Newt Gingrich with the highest negative rating (still, a pretty low negative of 13 percent), and Herman Cain with the highest positive rating at 25 percent. Neither has much of a chance of winning the straw poll or the presidential race at this point. But most people (over 60 percent in all cases) had neutral things to say about the contenders; maybe politicians aren’t truly that unpopular?

Finally, HighBeam Research looked at the number of times the GOP candidates were mentioned in the media using its research database that includes 6,500 journals, magazines, newspapers and transcripts.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bachmann topped the bunch, with 979 mentions. Front-runner Mitt Romney trailed slightly behind with 725 mentions, and Tim Pawlenty was far behind at just 448 mentions.Take from that what you will.

Who do you think is doing the best job of grabbing media attention and winning support online? Tell us your thoughts and we’ll update our post with the straw poll winners on Monday.

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