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.
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Searching Social Mention for both candidates gives an interesting albeit point in time view of both men as they head into their last day of campaigning.
|seconds avg. per mention||9 seconds||10 seconds|
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..
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.