Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2012 Republican Primary the Twitter way

The current republican primary is generating significant buzz in social media, but what if Twitter users voted for their candidate similar to how they followed them?The answer is certainly intriguing, but requires analyzing millions of followers of the 4 leading candidates in the race:

Mitt Romney338 thousand followers
Rick Santorum127 thousand followers
Ron Paul238 thousand followers
Newt Gingrich1.4 million followers

Plotting this data gives us this chart:

At first glance, Newt Gingrich wins the race without any contest, but considering the nomination is won based on state delegates, we need to see how the breakdown comes out state by state. We generated a TweepsMap for each of the candidates:
NewtGingrich's TweepsMap
RonPaul's TweepsMap
Mitt Romney's TweepsMap
Rick Santorum's TweepsMap

Then we used TweepsMap analytic engine to perform our analysis and compare the candidate profiles to each other.

The first interesting result we see here is that Newt Gingrich's advantage drops significantly on per state basis. Further analysis reveals that a big majority of Gingrich's followers did not fill their user profile. In fact 64% of his followers did not enter a valid location in their profile, this number is higher than a typical profile which normally falls between 10-30%. Of those who filled their profile, Gingrich has a smaller percentage (51%) of followers from the US compared to the other candidates who average around 75%, meaning that only 18% of Gingrich's followers have actually entered a valid US location. Mashable has reported last year that only 8% of Gingrich's Twitter followers are human, while our number is a little higher we are going to leave Gingrich's results in our analysis for the user to judge if it should be counted or not.

Santorum on the other hand appears to be far behind the other candidates in most states. This of course could be attributed to the lack of momentum Santorum had in the initial phase of the campaign, in addition to the fact that both Paul and Romney have been around on main stage politics for much longer including previous presidential runs. In addition, both candidates have much better organized campaigns with more energetic volunteers.

Looking at the state by state data few numbers stand out: Ron Paul gains 56% of the followers in Utah! Utah also seems to be the lowest percentage Santorum than any other state, certainly a state to watch.

Massachusetts gives Romney 49% of the vote which makes sense considering he was a previous governor of that state. Iowa on the other hand gives Santorum his highest number (at 16%) interesting considering he actually won the caucus there, and Pennsylvania gives him 15% which makes sense considering his residency in that state.

Overall we find the results interesting, and may correlate well with the actual results at the primaries themselves.