New Data: Can Twitter Predict Elections?

By Dan Zarella,

With the 2010 midterm elections coming up on Tuesday, I decided to look into the correlation of candidates Twitter accounts and their recent performance in polls.

I gathered a random sample of 30 senate, house and governor races from RealClearPolitics database of recent election polls and gathered each the number of followers had by each candidate in each race. I used the Twitter accounts linked to by the candidate’s campaign websites (as many of them have multiple accounts, I used the official 2010 campaign accounts). The poll data I used was the RealClearPolitics average, which is an average of recent polls of likely voters from multiple sources.

I found that in 71% of races, the candidate with the most Twitter followers was ahead in the polls.

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