Super Tuesday Social Media Analysis Falls Short

A look at Twitter trends called for a Romney landslide

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Will social media analytics let us know who the next president will be before the votes are counted?

One big test of the idea—yesterday's Super Tuesday primaries in 10 states to select the Republican nominee—shows, well, that we can't be sure.

USA Today had social-analytics software company Attensity conduct an analysis before the balloting of tweets from the past week,  but the elections' results weren't exactly as forecast.

Mitt Romney was predicted to take seven states but actually won six, including Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia, Idaho, Alaska and Vermont (Vermont was predicted to go to Rick Santorum). Santorum ended up taking three states: North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Newt Gingrich won Georgia, as predicted, but Ron Paul did not get the Alaska victory Attensity prophesied.

Great election predictors or not, the candidates, not surprisingly, are all still using social networking to get the word out on their campaigns.

“From an advertising perspective, Facebook is the flavor of the day for every political strategist,” University of San Francisco advertising and marketing professor John Durham tells USA Today. “They realize people are no longer in a passive media source such as television.”

Now, with the GOP race still open, when is the 140-character debate going to take place?

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First Published March 7, 2012

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