24 hours before the election will the most social media savvy guy win?

24 hours before the election will the most social media savvy guy win?

Summary: Looking purely at Internet searches, social media mentions and sentiment indicates that Obama is on track to win. But does the social stream deliver an accurate picture of how the US really plans to vote?

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Watching the election battle from across the pond and listening to carefully positioned, unbiased UK based news articles makes it difficult to gauge which party will win the US election.

I looked through my social media feeds to see if I could get a feeling about which candidate was going to be the president on Wednesday.

I started out looking at Google trends over the last three months. Although there were a couple of notable peaks in search volume throughout the last 90 days candidates have tracked fairly equally in search terms.

Google Trends shows the average number of searches for Obama higher than for Romney. Currently the graph shows Obama 10 points ahead.

Peaks occurred when Romney picked his running mate in August, Ann Romney talked about the real Mitt Romney on August 30th and when Slate magazine ran an article on Obama on September 7th.

The rest of the graph tracks along fairly equally in terms of searches.

Both candidates are searched for extensively in other regions around the world. Uganda and Kenya rank above Canada in searches for Romney whilst there are more searches for Obama in Rwanda than in the Unites States.

Microsoft has released Bing Elections which also shows that Obama is on track to win. There are a range of graphs on the site showing that in several areas, Obama has the edge -- just.

bing elections
Credit: Bing

My Facebook friends seem to be broadcasting their preferences and are strongly in favour of Obama. There are a few of my friends in technology who mention Romney on their Facebook and news feeds, but these seem to be lone Republican voices in a wall of Democrat sound.

Searching Social Mention for both candidates gives an interesting albeit point in time view of both men as they head into their last day of campaigning.

  Romney Obama
Strength 33% 38%
Sentiment 2:1 3:1
Passion 18% 37%
Reach 50% 47%
seconds avg. per mention 9 seconds 10 seconds
Unique authors 225 257
Positive sentiment 53 61
neutral sentiment 366 402
negative sentiment 29 20

 

Perhaps there are more mentions on social media for Obama due to the age demographic of social conversationalists.

During the last election in 2008, the vast majority of younger voters voted Democrat. Generation Y has a Facebook account and is influenced by comments and status updates from friends.

The study from the Facebook Data science team showed that we are influenced not only by our friends but the friends of our friends. Pressure from your peers can increase voter turnout and vote. We influence our friends on Facebook.

So who will win this fight? If you look purely on social media share of voice, then I think that Obama will remain in office for another four years. If Republicans are not broadcasting their voting preferences on social sites, then Romney might squeeze in silently and take the coveted title.

Will the social pundits have got their predictions right? Will Obama win? Heck, I don’t know. My gut feeling, based on all the social feeds I read is that he will.

Will it be the right choice? I don’t know the answer to that either. But we will have the next four years to find that out.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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35 comments
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  • bing and facebook are wrong

    because they poll mostly liberals and hippies not the real Americans.
    Tomorrow, Romney will win and we'll start building a better tommorow by implementing his 5 point plan that will create 12 millions jobs and will reduce the deficit by reducing the tax rates.
    Obama should better start working on a nice and long concession speach!
    LlNUX Geek
    • Then what about Google?

      >>Google Trends shows the average number of searches for Obama higher than for Romney. Currently the graph shows Obama 10 points ahead.
      Ram U
      • what does?

        what does searches have to do with it? I did not vote for Obama, but I've probably done many more web searches about Obama than Romney. Just because someone is searching about Obama doesn't mean they like him or something... in fact their search might have nothing to do what-so-ever with the elections. Which word has more searches is meaningless to the issue.
        doh123
        • I am neither democrat nor republican

          I am just asking LinuxGeek what should we call Google because Google is also showing more Obama results like Bing and Facebook are doing. I am sorry if I pointed out Google and made your day worse.
          Ram U
      • and that says what?

        searches != votes
        LlNUX Geek
        • and neither bing nor facebook doing any voting

          They are just presenting statistical information about the trends on the social media, which is neither vote. get that straight.
          Ram U
    • nevremind

      "reduce the deficit by reducing the tax rates"

      Yeah, that's like reducing your monthly gasoline bill by trading in your Honda Civic for an SUV. Makes perfect sense.
      dsf3g
      • Your analogy makes no sense...

        Taxes and gas mileage are completely different in every way. You can reduce tax rates and make more revenue from doing so. If you had the slightest clue about economics, you'd know that. Reducing tax rates often leads to economic growth because the money that was going to pay the government, is now being used to buy products (sales tax) property (property tax), expand business, hire people (income tax), all of which equate to new sources of tax revenue.

        It has nothing to do with trading in a Civic for a SUV, I sure hope you aren't eligible to vote. If so, I guess you are what they call the "uneducated voter."
        spaulagain2
        • Economics

          If you had the slightest clue about economics you'd know that what you're claiming is simply not true. Increased revenues from lower taxes only happens when marginal rates are extremely high. Recent work by respected economists who have looked at the issue suggests that revenue maximization ocurs when the top marginal rate is about 70%. If rates are higher than 70% you can increase revenue by dropping them down to 70% or so. But once you drop rates below that level, you are actually losing government revenues.

          Part of the reason we don't tax at a 70% rate is that we as a societ have decided that the raison d'etre of our government should not be to maximize government revenues, but rather, to create a society that allows individuals to "pursue happiness" and that can be done without maximizing government revenues. But when we're running massive deficits and already have a huge debt backlog, it is imperative that we tackle the situation through increased revenues.

          The idea that cutting taxes increases government revenues no matter what is an insane piece of faith-based GOP dogma that boasts no empirical evidence to back it.
          dsf3g
          • Well lets see

            Taxes has a direct affect on people's ability to live and work. If they can't afford to live on average wages they won't be employeed and won't be paying taxes. Reducing taxes across the board can reduce the cost of living reversing the cycle. Also when the tax burden increases people find more ways not to pay taxes one reason my wife no longer works out of the home...
            ammohunt
          • Sorry?

            Increased revenues from lowering taxes occurs when the increased economic activity permits revenue in excess of that lost with reduced rates. Can you link to your marginal rate research?

            Personally I dont believe in magic solutions.

            "But when we're running massive deficits and already have a huge debt backlog, it is imperative that we tackle the situation through increased revenues."

            Or reduce spending;-)

            From the article:
            "Perhaps there are more mentions on social media for Obama due to the age demographic of social conversationalists."

            I'd add an inflated opinion of themselves and more free time.

            Last place I'd look for analysis of anything is social media.
            Richard Flude
          • Link

            Here's the link:

            http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.25.4.165

            Keep in mind: a to marginal tax rate of 70% doesn't mean that every taxpayer pays 70% of their income to the government. It just means that the very rick pay 70% on income earned at that highest bracket.
            dsf3g
          • The link doesn't support your assertion

            "Recent work by respected economists who have looked at the issue suggests that revenue maximization ocurs when the top marginal rate is about 70%."

            The link is a "Case for a Progressive Tax". Not revenue maximisation.

            Very few "rich" pay the top marginal rate. They have the means to avoid it, paying an effective rate of taxation less than most. You'll be able to see this affect in France and how little revenue is generated by their new top tax rate.
            Richard Flude
          • Forget the title

            Don't judge the article by its title alone. here is a link to a Wall Street Journal Editorial where the authors describe their research in laymans terms:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303425504577353843997820160.html

            From the WSJ piece: "
            But will taxable incomes of the top 1% respond to a tax increase by declining so much that revenue rises very little or even drops? In other words, are we already near or beyond the peak of the famous Laffer Curve, the revenue-maximizing tax rate?
            ...
            According to our analysis of current tax rates and their elasticity, the revenue-maximizing top federal marginal income tax rate would be in or near the range of 50%-70% (taking into account that individuals face additional taxes from Medicare and state and local taxes). Thus we conclude that raising the top tax rate is very likely to result in revenue increases at least until we reach the 50% rate that held during the first Reagan administration, and possibly until the 70% rate of the 1970s."
            dsf3g
          • Until 50%, possibly 70%

            Not being a layman we must then view their analysis in light of it's goals; case for progressive taxation.

            Revenue maximisation from taxes is complex; models estimates. Claims for specific rates superficial.
            Richard Flude
          • Complex

            Complex, sure. But Peter Diamond is a Nobel laureate in economics. If anyone can do complex its guys like him.
            dsf3g
    • lol

      hahaah speach!!...
      jleon5
    • 12 million jobs?

      Are these the same 12 million jobs that the current economy is on pace to create?
      bugsy007
      • not under obama!

        under obama we'll lose more jobs. Only Romney know how to create them based on his outstanding record.
        LlNUX Geek