Univ. of Michigan Study: Republicans Beat Democrats on Twitter

This New Study Analyzes Twitter Use During the 2010 Midterm Elections

A new study from the University of Michigan looks at Twitter use during the 2010 midterm campaigns, and finds that Republicans and the Tea Party used the social medium more effectively than Democrats.

The study examined more than 460,000 tweets (three years' worth) from 687 candidates running for national House, Senate and gubernatorial seats. Univ. of Michigan researchers say that by looking at tweets they can predict election winners with 88% accuracy.


The Party is Over Here: Structure and Content in the 2010 Election

Avishay Livne, Matthew P. Simmons, Eytan Adar Lada A. Adamic

Abstract

In this work, we study the use of Twitter by House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates during the midterm (2010) elections in the U.S. Our data includes almost 700 candidates and over 690k documents that they produced and cited in the 3.5 years leading to the elections. We utilize graph and text mining techniques to analyze differences between Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party candidates, and suggest a novel use of language modeling for estimating content cohesiveness. Our findings show significant differences in the usage patterns of social media, and suggest conservative candidates used this medium more effectively, conveying a coherent message and maintaining a dense graph of connections. Despite the lack of party leadership, we find Tea Party members display both structural and language-based cohesiveness. Finally, we investigate the relation between network structure, content and election results by creating a proof-of-concept model that predicts candidate victory with an accuracy of 88.0%.