Are you ready for the Twitter political index?

posted at 8:07 pm on August 3, 2012 by Allahpundit

You know, just yesterday I was thinking, “If only we had more dubious polling metrics to sift through in this election.”

Sometimes dreams do come true, my friends.

Today, we’re launching the Twitter Political Index, a daily measurement of Twitter users’ feelings towards the candidates as expressed in nearly two million Tweets each week…

Each day, the Index evaluates and weighs the sentiment of Tweets mentioning Obama or Romney relative to the more than 400 million Tweets sent on all other topics. For example, a score of 73 for a candidate indicates that Tweets containing their name or account name are on average more positive than 73 percent of all Tweets…

For example, the trend in Twitter Political Index scores for President Obama over the last two years often parallel his approval ratings from Gallup, frequently even hinting at where the poll numbers are headed. But what’s more interesting are the periods when these data sets do not align, like when his daily scores following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden dropped off more quickly than his poll numbers, as the Twitter conversation returned to being more focused on economic issues.

Here’s their graph showing how Obama’s Gallup numbers stack up against his numbers in the “Twindex,” which has O at 51 and Romney at 26 as I write this. And yet, compare the current Twindex trends for the candidates since May…

…to HuffPo’s poll-of-polls trend over the same period:

Obama’s been inching up and over into net positive territory in the Twindex, but in the poll of polls it’s Romney who’s rising while O is flat. Hmmm.

As for why the Twindex might produce unscientific data, the Computerworld blog IDs three problems: (1) The pool of Twitter users who tweet about politics might not replicate the U.S. electorate the way a good scientific sample does, especially in swing states and especially since there are plenty of foreigners/non-voters tweeting about the election too; (2) the algorithms used to determine “positive” or “negative” sentiment in a tweet could be dicey; and (3) the more influential the Twindex becomes, the more partisan Twitter users will try to game it, especially given how easy it is to set up spam accounts. Even so, I’m not sure any of that matters. Political media can’t resist a new election metric or a new angle about how social media is influencing politics; put the two together and you’ve got a perfect recipe for navel-gazing stories about how Romney is gaining on Obama in the all-important Twitter race or whatever. (As a longtime InTrade linker, I’m guilty of this sort of navel-gazing too.) And the more important the Twitter race becomes, the more important “gaffes” and other minutiae will become since they’re apt to have the quickest and strongest effect on Twitter’s moving needle. This thing might be useful after one of the candidates gives a major speech to get a rough sense of how well it was received, but beyond that, I don’t know. Honestly, I’m polled-out.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Nov…..
Vote, don’t Tweet.

Electrongod on August 3, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Unless you are UppereastEnd.

Electrongod on August 3, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Too funny.

wargamer6 on August 3, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Then just demand Romney’s tax returns.

Electrongod on August 3, 2012 at 8:12 PM

I prefer “Twitdex”.

BKeyser on August 3, 2012 at 8:14 PM

This is useless

Mark1971 on August 3, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Honestly, I’m polled-out.

I polled-out a few years ago when I realized that the purpose of polls anymore is for the most part to drive a news story and not to honestly assess actual voter sentiment.

TXUS on August 3, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Twits got Obama elected in 2008 so I suspect this polling data may be skewed in his favor.

sharrukin on August 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Honestly, I’m polled-out

Yep.

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 8:19 PM

… I want a red button.

Axe on August 3, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Honestly, I’m polled-out.

Oh please.

TouchingTophet on August 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Still have 140 characters to go in my first twit

koaiko on August 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM

What could possibly be less relevant? This is a total waste of time.

Now, when they come out with an index to gauge blog comments, then we will have the Rosetta Stone of politics and the internet, bestowing flawless clairvoyance and maybe a pony upon any and all who gaze upon it.

trubble on August 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

@UpperEastSide
I just got engaged at the kiss-in here at Chik-Fil-A.

Electrongod on August 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Great. Our political zeitgeist determined by 13 year old girls.

I’ll stick to InTrade and a bunch of degenerate gamblers, thank you.

JohnGalt23 on August 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Nov…..
Vote, don’t Tweet.

Electrongod on August 3, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I think obnly leftists would have a hard time understanding there is a difference.

To all leftists: If you Tweet Obama’s name 3 times while looking in a mirror a vote will be counted from you towards the election.

NotCoach on August 3, 2012 at 8:28 PM

… I want a red button.

Axe on August 3, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Here ya go. Help yourself.

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

This may be all well and good, but what’s the poll numbers on the most favoured breakfast?

OldEnglish on August 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

“Obama by 12″…

Twindex exit poll.

hillsoftx on August 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Yeah, whatever, Twitter, Facebook, yada yada. I have no time for any of it. I scarcely have time to smack the QOTD crowd about their pointy little heads.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

The dumbest idea, ever.

This really goes to show how Twitter has zero value outside of being a text-blasting soapbox/PR efax machine.

I cannot wait for the day it’s absorbed by one of the giants and turned into MySpace.

budfox on August 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

I do not tweet.
I will not tweet.
I think only self absorbed boobs tweet, thus, the sample of tweets and who the tweeter will vote for will most likely be a heavily stupid, liberal sample.

Wolfmoon on August 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Now we know where the Pew poll get its sampling discrepancies.

Left Coast Right Mind on August 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

But anyway, whenever I see AP’s favorite mug shot of The One, all I want to do is give him the open palm of my hand.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

If Obama’s twitter index is so great, then why is it that the stupid tags set up by the left is invariably hijacked and turned into something epic by the right.

Quite honestly I don’t buy it. It’s like the advertisers that argue how Tiger Woods or Tom Brady are popular and huge TV draws. Sure, they get viewers tuned in, but most of us do so to root against them. As such Obama is likely to turn up in more tweets because the left loves him and right loves ripping on him. They claim to seek positive tweets, but how exactly is that measured? If somebody tweets. “Unemployment up to 8.3%, good job Obama” is the sarcasm noted by their algorithm? Or what if the tweeter calls him Barky, TOTUS, SCOAMF, Obummer… do those even factor into the equation.

In short this metric is sketchy at best. Even the most accurately tweaked scientific algorithm out there is only going to give a measure of twitter users, a metric almost surely younger, more technologically savvy, and more connected to memes than issues than the electorate that will be at the polls this November.

Gingotts on August 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

I think that from now on, if a pollster calls, I’ll talk with them.

And lie through my teeth about who I support.

And heck, I’ll set up a few twitter accounts and start tweeting 100 times a day.

Totally time to stop the polling…someone might get hurt…

ProfShadow on August 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

As they say, you are what you tweet.

the new aesthetic on August 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

You know, just yesterday I was thinking, “If only we had more dubious polling metrics to sift through in this election.”

How about Zombie Polling?

Blake on August 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Yes. He’s still ugly and the MSM still wants to just hug him to death.

Moving right along …

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

You know, just yesterday I was thinking, “If only we had more dubious polling metrics to sift through in this election.”

How about Zombie Polling?

Blake on August 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Democrats are already included in standard polling results.

sharrukin on August 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

I do not tweet.
I will not tweet.
I think only self absorbed boobs tweet, thus, the sample of tweets and who the tweeter will vote for will most likely be a heavily stupid, liberal sample.

Wolfmoon on August 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I was thinking about signing up but when I learned that the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers tweets, it immediately became a club I would have nothing to do with. He’s the ultimate self-absorbed boob, to use your very apt phrase.

TXUS on August 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Are you ready for the Twitter political index?

I would rather jab a red-hot poker into my eye. But thanks for asking.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

As they say, you are what you tweet.

the new aesthetic on August 3, 2012 at 8:44 PM

; )

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

; )

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Hello friend.

the new aesthetic on August 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

So, Clint Eastwood has endorsed Romney.

Blake on August 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

I think that from now on, if a pollster calls, I’ll talk with them.

And lie through my teeth about who I support.

And heck, I’ll set up a few twitter accounts and start tweeting 100 times a day.

Totally time to stop the polling…someone might get hurt…

ProfShadow on August 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I’m thinking the same way, except I’d never lie to say I’m supporting Zero. Doing so will only feed their outrage when they claim shenanigans and racism for why his actual support was so much less than the polling said.

Rather I’ll join a sudden surge in falsely declared support for Gary Johnson to trip up the pollsters.

Gingotts on August 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

So, Clint Eastwood has endorsed Romney.

Blake on August 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Yep..
Here in Idaho…

Electrongod on August 3, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Okay, here’s the thing, I effing despise this grinning leftist P.O.S. I want him to go down in record-breaking electoral-college fashion. i want him to just evaporate, like he never really happened.

I want him — Obama — to take his grubby hands off America and just LEAVE for the big-bucks lecture circuit.

Go away, Barry. Just GO away and let us get back to doing what America is best at.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Honestly, I’m polled-out.

I remember when we didn’t have all of these polls.

Life was good…

kakypat on August 3, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Pic of the Day: ‘Fess Up, Harry

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/08/pic-of-day-fess-up-harry.html

M2RB: Twisted Sister

Resist We Much on August 3, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Yeah, sorry, but this is going to be entirely useless. There are too many people using Twitter who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not vote.

Additionally, you’ve got to keep in mind that not all demographics are equally likely to Tweet. A 23 year old college student is FAR more likely to be comfortable and proficient with the technology, than a 73 year old retired grandmother.

Don’t get me wrong, theoretically something like this could be useful, but you’d need a way to narrow things down to a more scientific sample.

WolvenOne on August 3, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Stop showing this idiot’s face please. It ruins my dinner every single time I pull up HA while eating.

Wolfmoon on August 3, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Don’t get me wrong, theoretically something like this could be useful, but you’d need a way to narrow things down to a more scientific sample.

WolvenOne on August 3, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Total BS. Try again. Twitter “samples” are as useless as online polling samples (where anyone can chime in who happens to come along — or who was directed to respond by some interest group or other).

We call these “non-scientiific” polls because they toss aside all the critical “assumptions” that underpin robust statistical theory.

But, whatever. We live in the Age of Lies. So polls are conducted to “find” whatever the designers want them to find. Science be damned.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 10:02 PM

This is worthless. Folks over 60 rarely use twitter, but will vote for Romney in large numbers so this isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Ta111 on August 3, 2012 at 10:18 PM

If the RCP poll average only included polls with cross tabs after they are corrected to a realistic sample, there would be an index worth following. What we have now for polls is so obviously manipulated that it is worthless.

WhatNot on August 3, 2012 at 10:22 PM

I scarcely have time to smack the QOTD crowd about their pointy little heads.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Every time you’ve tried, you stabbed yourself in the hand.

You’re doing it wrong.

cozmo on August 3, 2012 at 10:46 PM

When conservatives keep getting tossed in Twitmo by liberals who are intolerant of any opposing viewpoint, it’s little wonder this “index” turned out the way it did.

Steve Eggleston on August 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM

I suspect that polling will become less and less accurate over time.

I used to participate in political surveys when called. But the uncertainty about the confidentiality of the answers and the efforts to extract personal retribution I have seen on the parts of some groups with donor lists and such has lead me stop sharing my opinions in ways that are not either more personal or anonymous.

Sadly, I can easily imagine someone doing a ‘survey’ of opinion in a battleground area and using that info to harass folks who are not of the ‘correct’ view. That is, after all, only a small step past using petition signatures to do the same.

OBQuiet on August 4, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Here ya go. Help yourself.

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Do NOT press Red Buttons!

Myron Falwell on August 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM