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Tweeting To The Presidency

November 14, 2011

In a study by Twitter Election Research group, it’s reported that in the case of GOP nominees, “a change in Twitter following is a leading indicator of polling.” According to Zach Green, a candidate who experiences a change in the polls will begin to see that change reflected days or even weeks beforehand by a decline or rise in the number of Twitter followers and/or mentions they receive.

Spikes in followers consistently precede shifts in the polls. The Twitter analysis we find most predictive of political polling is modeled on technical analysis of stock charts. We establish trendlines across consecutive highs and lows of the daily new follower count for a candidate. A decisive break up from a trendline predicts a growth in the polls within the next few days. A decisive break down in trendline predicts a drop in the polls.

Perhaps the best visualization of these shifts analyzes the shift in popularity (in the polls) of Herman Cain.

I’m not sure if the data above allows you to view findings regarding Herman Cain, but it is rather interesting to see the predictive nature Twitter can have on a race as important as deciding the next leader of the free world.

According to, the research is backed by 7 months of data of the candidates featured on the the table above; compared with the moving averages of each of the main candidates. As a democrat (I’ve only voted in 2008), I find the early GOP debates a tad boring (albeit necessary), but will be fascinated to know if the linkage between Twitter activity and actual Poll numbers carries on to the main election showdown in 2012.


From → Politics

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