data analytics 2012 politics 300x225 photo (analytics and twitter)

Author: Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

This week, Mitt Romney became the front-runner in the 2012 Republican nomination bid for the White House with his “unprecedented wins” in Iowa and New Hampshire. According to a CNN Report, this was the first time a non-incumbent Republican candidate won in both states.

The Iowa caucuses came down to just eight votes between the former Massachusetts governor and Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator.

The CNN report showed that with 95% of precincts reporting, Romney led with 40% of the vote in New Hampshire, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who received 23%. Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, received 17% of the New Hampshire votes for third place. Santorum placed fifth. 

You can see the breakdown of the New Hampshire primary using the Associated Press results map at Politico.com. This map of the 50 states offers a nice data visualization of the primary results as they unfold.

Twitter – A Good Election Predictor?

Mashable.com (@mashable), an online news site covering digital culture, social media and technology, had Globalpoint Research analyze the Twittersphere’s sentiment on the nation’s first primary election for 2012. They measured three main factors – Tweet volume, ReTweets and “detailed sentiment analysis” to predict the Romney win.

The same analysis was run in Iowa and while the results predicted “weren’t perfect,” the firm’s analysis showed Santorum having a “much stronger showing in Iowa than the national polls predicted.” They were right.

Another Twitter analysis firm called 140elect (@140elect), published a study in November that showed candidates with higher Twitters following will do better in the polls.

South Carolina Primary Predictions

Well, there’s one thing for certain about the South Carolina primary – the candidates are predicting their strong showings in the next crucial state on the road to the nomination.

A quick scan of Google News and you’ll see that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is predicting his own win on January 21. A Huffington Post poll predicts the Nikki Haley-endorsed (the current South Carolina governor) Romney to win. Finally, SumoSkinny.com (a college student news aggregator) predicts this will be a tough win for Romney. He placed fourth in South Carolina in the 2008 primaries.

How Viral Are the 2012 Candidates? 

To wrap up our data analytics of the 2012 election so far, here’s an interesting data visualization for you. Socialbakers, a social media analytics firm, has an interesting theory that Ron Paul is the most “viral candidate” in the race, at least on Facebook, according to an article from TheNextWeb.com. This analysis was based on how many Facebook users talked about the candidates. Paul had over 59,554 Facebookers talking about him in the week leading up to Iowa.

The Socialbakers (@socialbakers) also has a live infographic that is updated daily with information about how the candidates are performing socially. Kind of cool.

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