Analysis of social media buzz around U.S presidential elections – 2 [NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARIES]
As the Primaries kicked off on 10th January, 2012, it saw candidates taking to the web as they battled for votes in an attempt to become the Republican presidential front runner. Social media sites were naturally ablaze with tweets, blogs, etc passionately discussing possible outcomes of the GOP nomination held on Tuesday night. This week features an additional coverage of Republican candidate Jon Huntsman, who finished third in the New Hampshire primary, behind Mitt Romney and runner-up Ron Paul, since buzz around him has gradually picked up steam across social media sites.
Similar to last week’s numbers, this week also demonstrates Democrat candidate Barack Obama topping the social buzz for electoral candidates. Although, Obama had maximum share of conversation to his credit, one striking difference from last week is the drop in the percentage of chatter around him. Compared to previous weeks’ figures of 30 to 31%, this week, he managed to only feature in 27% of conversations. This mainly points to the growing share of voice of the Republican candidates in the U.S elections 2012.
The share-of-voice of Republican candidates is a reflection of the popularity of candidates on social media sites which could also provide us with a hint to their likely performance at the elections. It is glaringly evident that the most popular candidate is Mitt Romney, who incidentally also emerged as the winner of the Primaries. Bad news for Ron Paul though, who was riding the social media wave till last week since he commanded maximum share of conversation amongst the Republican candidates, but slipped to third place this week.
This week, the percentage of chatter emerging from social networks such as Facebook, for all the candidates is lesser than the percentage of chatter from microblogs. Out of the Republican candidates, Romney had maximum number of mentions on Twitter, followed closely by Rick Santorum. One point that stands out is the percentage of buzz contributed by news for Rick Perry, which is the maximum, compared to other social media platforms, out of which 50% of the articles carried a positive sentiment.
It is interesting to note that although Obama commanded maximum share of conversation, a large percentage of buzz around him was negative, amplified by his recent controversial recess appointment. Infact, the percentage of negative chatter (out of the overall buzz) around Obama was the highest at 35%, compared to his rivals. Although Romney was more actively discussed, Ron Paul continued to receive more positive mentions compared to his contenders. Similarly, although Rick Santorum was the second most widely discussed Republican candidate, he had the maximum percentage of negative mentions which is alarmingly high compared to his rivals. This was primarily due to the alleged racist comments made by Santorum, which despite clarifications was still condemned to a large extent by the online community.
New Hampshire Primary winner, Mitt Romney is perceived to be the closest competitor to Barack Obama as seen from the topical trends. Romney’s win was discussed fervently across news, blogs as well as microblogs. Ron Paul, was applauded in forums for his fantastic speech aired after his historic second place win at the primaries.
Online news articles featured Former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s attack on Romney’s pious baloney, which along with his full-page ad comparing his and Romney’s positions on taxes, abortion etc created a stir in microblogs. Texas governor Rick Perry, tweeted ‘Here we come South Carolina’ which was retweeted by his ardent fans.
Conversations around Rick Santorum also include references to his contenders , namely Romney, Huntsman and Gingrich. The point of difference is the size of trends which is unusually high for all the three contenders, which means that they are highly associated with Santorum. Jon Huntsman’s third place finish in New Hampshire Primaries, landing him a “ticket to ride” on to South Carolina which was discussed widely in microblogs.
While blogs and online news were busy discussing Obama’s recess hires, microblogs were actively sharing Michelle Obama’s slamming of stereotypical angry black woman associations made with her. As per the topical trends, Romney is perceived to be the closest competitor to Obama.
Mitt Romney took a crucial step toward the Republican nomination with his win in New Hampshire and a subsequent win in South Carolina could extinguish his rivals’ hopes of keeping him from becoming the nominee to take on Democratic President Barack Obama. Catch our post next week as we analyse and explore further the social buzz around your favourite candidates just before the primaries hit South Carolina.