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GOP Social Media Analysis 21 Dec 2011 Final

GOP Social Media Analysis 21 Dec 2011 Final

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Published by ohmygov
Analysis of the association between political polling numbers and social media growth rates.
Analysis of the association between political polling numbers and social media growth rates.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: ohmygov on Dec 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ffects of Social Networking Platforms on 2012Republican Presidential Candidates
 By:Qianlan Zeng, MS  Richard Hartman, PhD Andrew Einhorn, MS 
OhMyGov Inc. ResearchDecember 2011
Social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way wecommunicate and share information. They have become part of the political discourse, particularly during the 2012 Republican presidential primary campaigns. Of particular 
interest to the field of study around social media is the possibility of using social mediadata to measure public opinion. This study analyzes whether Facebook and Twitter fannumbers and profile growth rates correlate with political polling data. We analyzed 
 social media fans and growth on the two dominant social-networking platforms(Facebook and Twitter) of the leading Republican presidential candidates over a six-month period and correlated those results with polling data. Results from the study
indicate a significant correlation between total social media fans and how a candidatewas tracking in polls. No correlation was found between social media growth rates and candidate polling data. The impacts may signify another way to gauge, predict, and 
influence election outcomes.
During the 2010 election season, 22% of Internet users were engaged with the electoralcampaigns through online social networks.
This percentage has likely increased significantly,and thus the candidates, their campaigns, and the press are trying to take advantage of these new platforms.For over 80 years, professional pollsters have used techniques to predict election outcomes. Associal media platforms continue their move from fringe to mainstream, it is conceivable thatsocial media use and reactions could be used to augment or replace traditional polling. Byunderstanding social media, one may be able to track a candidate’s popularity as well as that of their competition and contribute to a political campaign’s success in the new media age. Variousstudies have shown that social media could be an indicator of election outcomes.
This studyattempts to increase the body of research in examining the relationship between social mediagrowth rates and polling.Over the 6 months prior to the 2012 Republican primaries, many voters have been seeingcampaign messages, debates, and political commentary -- not only through traditional media, butalso on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Voters have been giving instantreactions to the candidates' appearance, words and policies on such platforms. But do candidates’ polling numbers correlate to their effectiveness on the two prominent social networks, Facebooand Twitter? We hypothesized that the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, alongwith Facebook and Twitter growth rates, correlate with national polling numbers of thecandidates’ likeability and likelihood of winning the 2012 GOP nomination.
This study looked at the total number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers of the followingeight Republican candidates: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman,Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum from June 2011 to December 13, 2011,and the social media growth rates from July 2011 to December 13, 2011.Since most of polling surveys are conducted on a monthly basis, all study data were aggregated by month. The same algorithm by Real Clear Politics
(RCP) was used to calculate average polling numbers. This algorithm takes the average of all polling numbers from the top national polls for the respective month. The averages for candidate Facebook fans and Twitter followersfor each candidate each month were calculated on the last day of that month (except for December).Candidate data were pooled together to perform the analysis, including 55 records of RCP and 56records of the number of Facebook Fans and Twitter followers for the eight Republican
Smith, A. 2011. Twitter and social networking in the 2010 midterm elections. Pew Research.http://bit.ly/heGpQX
Carr, A. 2010. Facebook, twitter election results prove remarkably accurate. Fast Company.http://bit.ly/dW5gxo
Nelson, Hartman and Einhorn. Social Media in the 2010 Election. OhMyGov Inc.http://www.scribd.com/doc/38002542/Social-Media-in-the-2010-Election-OhMyGov-Inc-Research
candidates from June 2011 to December 13, 2011. Growth rates are calculated from July toDecember 13, and contain 48 records.To determine the statistical significance, the software program “R” was used as the analysis toolto calculate the Pearson correlation coefficient, where Corr Coef is the correlation coefficient, and p-value represents the significance of the correlation (which is based on a two-tailed test). For this study, 0.05 was used as the threshold to determine significance. Additionally, a logarithmictransformation was conducted for each correlation analysis to eliminate the influence of extraordinary values. Variable plots were created to better illustrate the correlations or lack thereof, along with a linear regression line to demonstrate trends of the data movements.
The correlation analysis between total Facebook fans and polling numbers ((Corr Coef=0.47, p-value<0.001 (after log-transformation, Corr Coef=0.55, p-value<0.001)) indicate a
significant linear correlation between the number of Facebook fans and pollingnumbers
The correlation analysis between the growth rate on Facebook and polling numbers (Corr Coef=0.12, p-value=0.43>0.05 (after log-transformation, Corr Coef=0.02, p-value=0.9>0.05)), indicate no significant linear correlation between Facebook fan growthrate and polling numbers.

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