The relative popularity of the contenders in the 2012 US Presidential campaign can be measured not only by traditional polling methods, but also by the buzz the contestants create online and in social media. One efficient tool is Google Trends, which indicates how frequently Internet users search for specific terms. The chart, which self-renews on a daily basis and reflects the latest data, shows how often US Internet users searched for the terms “Obama” or “Romney.” As can be noticed, the first presidential debate, on October 3, marked a major upswing in searches. Furthermore, Mitt Romney’s name was searched just as much as Obama’s, reflecting his better performance in the debate. To offer some perspective, the buzz produced by the Super Bowl is also mapped. Numbers on the Y axis represent percentage of buzz compared to the highest value of all searches included in the chart.
Another way to look at the social media imprint of the campaign is via Social Mention, which indicates both how popular and affectively charged (on the plus or minus side) is a public personality on social media. Combing through Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Facebook and other several social media spaces, Social Mention shows how many individuals have been talking about any given term/name/brand in the last hours, how likely those individuals are to have done it repeatedly, and how frequent the mentions are relative to all posts and updates in social media. Click these two links to compare Barack Obama‘s social media buzz with Mitt Romney‘s in the last 24 hours!
Twazzup is another interesting tool, which shows how fast a topic moves through twittersphere. A TPH (tweets per hour) score measures how often a term has been mentioned on Twitter in the last hour. Numbers change all the time, so I leave it to your pleasure to figure out where Obama or Romney are.
From Klout you can find how influential individuals are on social media. Obama seems to have one of the highest possible scores (99 of 100), while Romney trails behind (91 of 100).
My favorite online forecasting tool is, however, Intrade. This is not a social media platform, per se, but a “prediction market,” where individuals bet (buy “stocks” in outcomes) on real life events with real money. Currently, the bets indicate that Obama has a 66% chance to be elected. The chart you will find on the Intrade site depicts the trading history for this outcome. This link provides a complete CVS file with all trading values for this prediction from the beginning of the “contract.”