Twitter and other social media are used a lot for promoting the candidates for an election, but whether they can predict an election or not is a topic for debate. However, a new visualization from Twitter shows a strong correlation between the preponderance of conversations on the platform and the status of the candidates in the 2016 presidential race.
Trump the most talked-about candidate on Twitter
Donald Trump is the leading presidential candidate on the micro-blogging site if we look at the combined data, with the most users tweeting about him and high engagement on those tweets. Trump slipped from the top spot only once during a Democratic debate on October 13 when Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders was on the top spot, but the Sanders campaign had paid to promote the hashtag #DebateWithBernie on that day.
The No. 2 and No. 3 spots are bagged by Hillary Clinton and Sanders with ranking being exchanged between them several times. If we look before last week’s primary in Indiana, then Clinton held a higher rank than Sanders in overall conversation nationwide. However, Sanders lead the Twitter conversation in the state of Indiana and also emerged as the winner of state’s primary. For Twitter, this finding serves as evidence that political conversation taking place on the network can be a significant indicator of what happens off the site as well.
In a blog post, Miguel Rios, a data science manager for the company, said, “Twitter is the live pulse of the 2016 presidential election, and we’ve been crunching the numbers to show how the race has unfolded so far.”
Political conversation – a good indicator
Twitter no doubt illustrates the idea that Trump has the American people hooked on to it. On looking deeper, it can be observed that there is a stark distance between Trump and all other candidates, with October 13 being an exception. On Twitter, March 1 or Super Tuesday was the most dominant day for Trump as he won seven states and secured 1,068 delegates.
It happened on a few occasions that other Republican candidates gained momentum on Twitter. For instance, during the September 16 Republican debate, Jeb Bush took second place just behind Trump. During the later debates, it was observed that Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz pulled more engagement on Twitter.
It was also observed that Sen. Marco Rubio gained more of the conversation after nearly every Republican debate. However, we cannot depend entirely on Twitter conversations since Rubio chose to suspend his campaign on social media after he lost his home state of Florida.