The Florida primary is shaping up to be an important battleground in the war for the Republican presidential nomination, and it’s getting plenty of attention on social media.
Mashable asked social media analysis company Fizziology to determine the sentiment around each of the remaining candidates and compare it to recent polling data.
In the latest poll from the American Research Group (ARG), which was carried out by live interviewers from Jan. 29 to 30, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (with 43 percent) leads former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (with 31 percent). Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are following far behind, with 13 percent and 9 percent respectively.
So, polls are predicting a Romney win with a close showing from Gingrich but little competition from Santorum or Paul. Does the social sentiment data match up?
According to Fizziology’s analysis, Romney created the most overall social chatter (139,886 relevant mentions), followed closely by Gingrich (137,122 mentions). Rick Santorum had a dramatic increase in positive sentiment, but Fizziology also found less overall chatter around him (31,173 mentions) — suggesting a smaller but more focused support base.
Fizziology noted that the volume of social media posts around a particular candidate has closely mirrored that candidate’s performance in a particular election. Therefore, its data predicts a much closer battle between Romney and Gingrich than that predicted by the ARG poll.
Meanwhile, negative sentiment is on the rise for Romney, which Fizziology believes to be a byproduct of the increased scrutiny received by a frontrunner. Fizziology found that he has 48% negative sentiment and 10% positive sentiment (42% of Romney-related posts were neutral).
Check out Fizziology’s graph on the top 3 candidate’s (per the ARG poll) positive sentiment throughout the nomination process thus far:
Fizziology’s methodology works by using humans to analyze and interpret the sentiment of posts on the “big 3:” Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
The company’s process isn’t a scientific poll. However, we’ve found in the past that social media sentiment has lined up with election and caucus results very well.
So is it useful to look at social media sentiment ahead of an election? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.