Study: Twitter users tough on Republicans, Obama

Dec 08, 2011 By BETH FOUHY , Associated Press

(AP) -- The 2012 presidential contenders have had a rough go of it on Twitter, according to an analysis of the political conversation taking place on the popular social network.

The study released Thursday by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found Twitter to be a hotbed of opinionated discussion about the campaign. But a majority of the candidates, including President , have received more negative than positive coverage on Twitter than in regular news coverage or blogs.

Twitter has become the go-to hub for topical political dialogue, where opinions are shared in 140-character bursts known as .

Researchers developed a to analyze more than 20 million tweets related specifically to the 2012 race between May 2 and Nov. 27 and determine whether a statement was positive, negative or neutral.

Mark Jurkowitz, the associate director of PEJ, said Twitter's growing importance as a communications tool led to the study.

"Twitter is a significant element of the political conversation and ecosystem in this campaign," Jurkowiitz said. "It's part of the broad democratization process in media, where people who have significant doubts about the mainstream press and are looking for ways to circumvent it."

Among the findings:

-Texas Rep. Ron Paul has been more popular on Twitter than any of the other candidates, even though he's received relatively limited press coverage. Fully 55 percent of tweets about Paul have been positive, the study found, compared with 15 percent that were negative.

-Negative tweets about the rest of the Republican field have outweighed positive tweets by at least a 2-1 margin. Obama has fared even worse, with negative assessments outweighing positive by a 3-1 margin.

-Tweets about three - Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign last Saturday - grew increasingly negative since October, the study found. Newt Gingrich, who has surged to the top of many polls in recent weeks, became the subject of more positive than negative tweets the week of Oct. 24.

-Obama far outpaced the Republican field in the number of tweets about him. The Democratic president was the subject of about 15 million mentions, compared with Cain, who was the subject of 2.1 million tweets. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, placed third with 1.5 million. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was fourth with 1.4 million mentions.

-The study found the language used on to be "very personal and pungent and even profane ... leveling allegations that would be off-limits in more traditional news coverage."

Explore further: Facebook tuning mobile search at social network

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hackers send fake terror alerts from NBC's Twitter

Sep 10, 2011

(AP) -- A hacker broke into the Twitter account of NBC News and sent out a handful of false tweets about a suspected hijacking and a plane attack at ground zero just days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Recommended for you

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

18 hours ago

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds 'digital currency' plans

18 hours ago

Ecuador is planning to create the world's first government-issued digital currency, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, the U.S. dollar, which ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

Aug 26, 2014

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

User comments : 0