Can Twitter Predict the Iowa Caucus?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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Can Twitter predict the outcome of the Iowa Caucus better than national polls? Mashable has partnered with Global Point Research to answer that question.

According to the latest NBC News-Marist national poll, ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has a slight edge over Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s recent surge has subsided, but he remains in third. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s campaign is getting hot right before the caucus.

On Twitter, a similar pattern is unfolding. However, Santorum’s sudden boost in the polls is much more pronounced on the microblogging service. Rick Perry also has a better showing online than in the NBC poll.

The graph below compares the NBC poll with positive sentiment on Twitter. The data was collected between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30.

In research Global Point has done in the past, its data tends to be about two weeks ahead of polls. This doesn’t necessarily mean Santorum is about to run away with a blowout win in Iowa. What it does signal is that the former senator is experiencing a dramatic upswing in positive sentiment online just before the caucus.

Do these results mean we’ll see a better-than-expected showing for Santorum and Perry Tuesday? We’ll be watching the results very closely to find out.

Source from : Mashable
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