Crusading Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus is close to beating failed U.S. presidential candidate John McCain to become the world’s eighth most popular politican on Facebook.
At the time of writing, Tuesday afternoon, Mockus’ virtual fanbase stands at 520,647, to McCain’s 562,231. The Colombian-Lithuanian one-time outsider has gained more than 7,000 in the last few hours, while the Republican’s following has gone up by less than 400.
Mockus’ campaign has focused on social networking, and he was doing well in the Facebook stakes even before the Green surge in the polls. Back in January, when he was polling only 2% of the vote, he already had 2,733 followers on Twitter.
The campaign is using low-cost, viral methods of promotion, asking each fan to get five of their friends to join.
It is not clear whether winning the online popularity game will translate into concrete votes for the Green politician, or a seat in Colombian presidential palace. Colombia’s Facebook users are disproportionately young, and around 26% are minors, who cannot vote.
And there is no guarantee that the Green candidate’s fans are even Colombian – Mockus is beginning to gain a lot of coverage in foreign media, and may be attracting supporters from all around the world, who will be of little use on May 30 election day.
Facebackers.com shows that Mockus was the politician with the fastest-growing Facebook fanbase in the world in the last month, with a 258% increase. Dinero predicts that Mockus will overtake McCain “within hours.”
It won’t be the first time that Republican McCain has been beaten by an outsider promising change, after losing to Barack Obama in the U.S. elections of 2008.
And just to make the sting that bit worse for the also-ran McCain, Mockus has been described in the Colombian press as “Colombia’s Obama.”
But Mockus still has a long way to go before beating his American “counterpart;” President Barack Obama is the most popular politician in the world, with 8,231,765 Facebook fans.