Pundits continue to speculate on the political impact of Mitt Romney's stellar performance during Wednesday night's Presidential debate. But that impact is already palpable on social media, as Romney added over 208,000 new Facebook fans within hours of finishing the debate - the second largest boost in fans Romney has ever received.
The surge of fans is part of a consistent explosion in support for Romney on social media, as the former Massachusetts Governor has added over six million new fans in the past three months, compared to just 2.1 million for President Obama.
Studies have linked the daily change in Facebook fan growth to polling data, noting that favorability polls rise and fall in correlation with Facebook fan numbers. So the progress Romney is showing in garnering support through the social media platform may be an early indicator of his movement in the polls to close the gap on Obama.
A recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos following the debate showed Romney's approval rating had increased after the debates, rising for the first time to a level above 50 percent since he began running for the Presidency. The poll's finding is in line with what is seen on social media as the public jumping behind a seemingly sharper, more commanding Mitt Romney.
On Twitter, the situation was a bit different, however, with President Obama garnering twice as many new Twitter followers in the wake of the debate than Romney.
Each candidate was also discussed on Twitter equally, with the Twitterverse producing over 2 million tweets within hours of the debate.
Ever the modern battle ground for political mudslinging, Twitter has become a critical platform for driving home each candidate's talking points. Among the Romney camp, the most widely circulated tweet attacked the President's healthcare program, claiming the plan would burden the middle class with higher taxes - a mirror image of the criticism that camp Obama has been putting on Romney's tax plan.
"mittromney: Obamacare will raise taxes on nearly 5 million middle class Americans by 2016 #CantAfford4More http://t.co/8vD3ZuYs."
Meanwhile, across aisle, the Obama team fired back on Twitter at Romney in an attempt to debunk some of Romney's accusations and plans.
"FACT: Romney told students struggling to afford tuition to “shop around,” ”borrow money” from parents for school to start a business."
As we move closer to the next debate, it will be interesting to see if Romney continues to attract supporters at the same rate, or whether Team Obama can leverage their advertising warchest to take the wind out of Romney's full sails.