» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 126 | NO. 240 | Friday, December 09, 2011

Study: Twitter Users Tough on Republicans, Obama

BETH FOUHY | Associated Press

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

NEW YORK (AP) – The 2012 presidential contenders have had a rough go of it on Twitter, according to an analysis of the political conversation taking place on the popular social network.

The study released Thursday by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found Twitter to be a hotbed of opinionated discussion about the campaign. But a majority of the candidates, including President Barack Obama, have received more negative than positive coverage on Twitter than in regular news coverage or blogs.

Twitter has become the go-to hub for topical political dialogue, where opinions are shared in 140-character bursts known as tweets.

Researchers developed a computer algorithm to analyze more than 20 million tweets related specifically to the 2012 race between May 2 and Nov. 27 and determine whether a statement was positive, negative or neutral.

Mark Jurkowitz, the associate director of PEJ, said Twitter's growing importance as a communications tool led to the study.

"Twitter is a significant element of the political conversation and ecosystem in this campaign," Jurkowiitz said. "It's part of the broad democratization process in media, where people who have significant doubts about the mainstream press and are looking for ways to circumvent it."

Among the findings:

  • Texas Rep. Ron Paul has been more popular on Twitter than any of the other candidates, even though he's received relatively limited press coverage. Fully 55 percent of tweets about Paul have been positive, the study found, compared with 15 percent that were negative.
  • Negative tweets about the rest of the Republican field have outweighed positive tweets by at least a 2-1 margin. Obama has fared even worse, with negative assessments outweighing positive by a 3-1 margin.
  • Tweets about three Republican candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign last Saturday – grew increasingly negative since October, the study found. Newt Gingrich, who has surged to the top of many polls in recent weeks, became the subject of more positive than negative tweets the week of Oct. 24.
  • Obama far outpaced the Republican field in the number of tweets about him. The Democratic president was the subject of about 15 million mentions, compared with Cain, who was the subject of 2.1 million tweets. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, placed third with 1.5 million. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was fourth with 1.4 million mentions.
  • The study found the language used on Twitter to be "very personal and pungent and even profane ... leveling allegations that would be off-limits in more traditional news coverage."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sign-Up For Our Free Email Edition
Get the news first with our daily email


 
Blog Get more from The Daily News
Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 69 311 15,028
MORTGAGES 83 338 19,668
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 43 3,838
BUILDING PERMITS 0 512 35,842
BANKRUPTCIES 65 247 14,281
BUSINESS LICENSES 16 120 5,111
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 70 316 21,749
MARRIAGE LICENSES 18 93 4,650

Weekly Edition

Issues | About

The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.