CBS News/TNS Campaign Social Media Tracker

Republican candidates social media tracker twitter TNS CBS News

CBS News has launched a tool to measure and evaluate the daily Twitter conversation about Republican presidential candidates. The tool, developed in partnership with custom market research specialist TNS, captures and analyzes people's real time opinions about the Republican contenders as expressed on Twitter.



See Also: Real Time Pulse with Tweets about the GOP campaign

The table below shows the volume of Tweets for each candidate today. The percentage refers to each candidate's share of Tweets about all the current Republican presidential candidates. The count begins at midnight Eastern Time, and is reset to zero at midnight each day.

The "i" refers to the percentage of Tweets that are informational or neutral, that express neither a positive or negative sentiment. The green thumbs up symbol represents the percentage of positive Tweets about the candidate; the red thumbs down symbol represents the percentage of negative Tweets about the candidate.

See Also: Real Time Pulse with Tweets about the GOP campaign

Analysis: April 11, 2012

Tweets about the Republican candidates soared to a volume of nearly 540,000 on April 10th following Rick Santorum's announcement that he will be suspending his presidential bid. The exact number - 538,599 - is the greatest amount of tweets recorded since the Iowa Caucuses on January 3rd, when 1,099,693 tweets about the Republican candidates were recorded. On April 9th - the day before - just 21,798 tweets were recorded.

Since Iowa, the only other times the volume of tweets rose above 250,000 were on nights that featured debates between the candidates before the Super Tuesday primaries.

By far the most tweeted about candidate on April 10th was Rick Santorum, who accounted for 455,387 tweets, or about 85% of all the tweets for that day. Although the news makes Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee, tweets about him on April 10th amounted to only 57,179 - or 11% of all total tweets - though he came in second ahead of Ron Paul (17,438) and Newt Gingrich (8,595).

Analysis: April 5, 2012

Tweets about the Republican presidential candidates rose sharply on April 3 - the day of the Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington D.C. primaries, following a familiar pattern throughout the campaign.

The day before voters headed to the polls, total Tweets about the candidates reached 31,097 but rose by more than 50,000 Tweets to 83,287 on April 3. Still, this number is down slightly from March 13, during the primaries in Alabama, Mississippi, and Hawaii when 117,607 recorded Tweets mentioned the candidates.

The volume of Tweets per candidate continues to reflect their perceived fortunes. For instance, Mitt Romney's April 3 win in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Wisconsin resulted in 64,000 Tweets mentioned him, outnumbering Tweets about Santorum by nearly seven to one.

However, Rick Santorum won the Louisiana primary on March 24 and the Alabama and Mississippi primaries on March 13. On those days, he was the most Tweeted-about candidate. After his wins in Alabama and Mississippi, more than 68,000 Tweets mentioned the former Pennsylvania senator.

Analysis: March 15, 2012

Tweets about the Republican presidential candidates rose sharply on March 6th and again on March 13th - the dates of the Super Tuesday contests and the Alabama, Mississippi, and Hawaii contests, respectively.

On both primary dates tweets more than doubled from the previous day: from 50,244 on March 5th to 121,546 of March 6th, and from 48,915 on March 12th to 117,607 on March 13th. Though the number of tweets were far less than recorded on the day of the last Republican debate on February 22nd, when nearly half a million tweets about the candidates were recorded.

The volume of tweets per candidate largely reflected their perceived fortunes on those evenings. Mitt Romney won the most contests on March 6th and he was the most tweeted about (43,764), while Rick Santorum, who won both Alabama and Mississippi, was the most tweeted about on March 13th (68,387).

Ron Paul - who was the subject of more than half of the tweets recorded on the day of the Republican debate on February 22nd, has declined dramatically as a topic of conversation in the Twitter-sphere. There were just 11,843 tweets about Ron Paul on March 13th, a day where he came in third in Hawaii and a distant fourth place in both Alabama and Mississippi.

Tweets about candidates
CBS

Analysis: March 6, 2012

As Republican voters in 10 states went to the polls, check out this graphic which summarizes the battle on Twitter over the days leading up to Super Tuesday, and the three months before.

Analysis: Feb. 23, 2012

The volume of Tweets about the Republican presidential candidates rose sharply on February 22, the day of the most recent debate. Just under half a million Tweets were posted about the candidates on February 22, up from 31,926 the day before.

It isn't unusual for the number of Tweets about the candidates to spike around the time that a primary or debate occurs.

With just under 300,000 Tweets about him, Ron Paul was the most Tweeted about candidate. Mitt Romney came in second, but there were far fewer Tweets about him.

Total Tweets About Republican Candidates - February 22

  • Rick Santorum 99,430
  • Mitt Romney 62,650
  • Ron Paul 283,254
  • Newt Gingrich 34,421
  • TOTAL: 479,755

Ron Paul has been a popular subject in the Twittersphere, and has proven to be a popular candidate among younger Republican primary voters as well. In the primaries and caucuses that have been held so far, Ron Paul has won among voters under 30 in all the contests except for one (Florida, where he came in second). In Iowa and New Hampshire, he received just under half the young vote.

Video: CBS News polling director Sarah Dutton discusses the results

Analysis: Feb. 15, 2012

Reflecting the current tightness of the Republican race for the nomination, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were each the subject of about the same number of Tweets on February 14. Santorum was the subject of 10,906 Tweets, and Romney was mentioned in 10,339 Tweets. Ron Paul was close behind, with 9,882 Tweets, and Newt Gingrich was Tweeted about just under 6,000 times.

Total Tweets About Republican Candidates - February 14

  • Rick Santorum 10,906
  • Mitt Romney 10,339
  • Ron Paul 9,882
  • Newt Gingrich 5,941
  • TOTAL TWEETS: 37,068

The word cloud showed that Tweets most often mentioned "Michigan," "tea party" and "poll."

Analysis: Feb. 9, 2012

Rick Santorum swept the February 7th contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado - giving him a big spike up in the number of Tweets that mentioned him. There were 5,355 Tweets about Santorum on Feb 6; that rose to more than ten times as many - 67,666 -- on February 7 and 44,617 on February 8.

Analysis: Feb. 6, 2012

With his win in the Nevada caucuses, Twitter posts about Mitt Romney spiked on February 4th. A total of 58,658 Tweets were posted about Romney that day; while most were informative or neutral, 28% were negative and just 11% were positive.

But there were even more Tweets that day about Newt Gingrich, who lost both the Nevada caucuses and the Florida primary earlier in the week to Romney -- 66,156 Tweets were posted about Gingrich on February 4. But by a 4 to 1 ratio, Tweets about Gingrich were more negative (39%) than positive (10%).

With just under 40,000 Tweets, Ron Paul was also a popular Twitter figure on February 4. And like the other candidates, many of the Tweets about him are neutral; 25% are negative and 13% are positive.

Total Tweets About Republican Candidates - February 4

  • Newt Gingrich 66,156
  • Mitt Romney 58,658
  • Ron Paul 39,577
  • Rick Santorum 5,204

Mitt Romney won the Florida primary on January 31, but that day there were far more Tweets about Newt Gingrich than there were about the Florida winner. Almost 100,000 Tweets were posted about Gingrich, with Romney receiving just under 40,000. Although he received just 7% of the vote in Florida, Tweets about Ron Paul were almost as numerous as those for Romney that day.

Total Tweets About Republican Candidates - January 31

  • Newt Gingrich 98,090
  • Mitt Romney 39,859
  • Ron Paul 32,598
  • Rick Santorum 6,680

There was a lot of Twitter activity about the Republican presidential race on January 19th - the day that Rick Perry dropped out of the race, Newt Gingrich's ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News, and another debate was held. All that campaign activity was reflected in the volume of Tweets about the candidates.

That day, there were just over 340,000 Tweets about the candidates, including more than 59,000 about Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich was most Tweeted-about, with 138,250. Rick Santorum was Tweeted about least.

Total Tweets About Republican Candidates - January 19

  • Newt Gingrich 138,250
  • Ron Paul 70,557
  • Mitt Romney 47,236
  • Rick Santorum 26,617
  • Rick Perry 59,258

Analysis: Jan. 20, 2012

There was a lot going on in the Republican presidential race on January 19th -- Rick Perry dropped out of the race, Newt Gingrich's ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News, and there was another debate - and all that activity was reflected in the volume of Tweets about the candidates.

There were just over 340,000 Tweets about the candidates, including more than 59,000 about Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich was most Tweeted-about, with 138,250. Rick Santorum was Tweeted about least.

Total Tweets About Republican Candidates - January 19

  • Mitt Romney 47,236
  • Rick Santorum 26,617
  • Ron Paul 70,557
  • Newt Gingrich 138,250
  • Rick Perry 59,258

Analysis: Jan. 12, 2012

By The CBS News Election and Survey Unit

Twitter mentions about the Republican presidential candidates go up and down with campaign events: the Iowa Caucuses marked the biggest volume of Tweets, with nearly 1.3 million Tweets about the Republican candidates on January 3. The mid-December Republican debate had marked the all-time previous high.

But some activity is tapering off. New Hampshire primary day - January 10 - hardly caused a ripple in the Twitter world. There were just 267,870 Tweets about the GOP candidates on Tuesday - one-fifth of the total on January 3rd, the day of the Iowa caucuses.

Interest has been tapering off when it comes to the debates, too. There were just under 190,000 Tweets in total on Saturday, when the first of the two pre-New Hampshire weekend debates were held. On Sunday, the day of the second debate, numbers were about the same.

Ron Paul, the Texas congressman, with his many young supporters, has become the "King of Tweets," and has been much more talked-about than any of his rivals in the last month. Often, Paul's followers sometimes just add hashtag about Paul to Tweets on other subjects.

The day after the Iowa caucuses, there were just over 1 million Tweets about the Republican presidential candidates. The emphasis wasn't on caucus leaders Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, but on one caucus loser. Discussions of the possibility of Rick Perry pulling out of the race (which he denied in his own Tweet), helped Perry become most-Tweeted about on January 4th, with over 300,000 Tweets. Michele Bachmann, who did pull out of the race, trailed all other candidates but Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman. Romney was in second place, followed by Santorum and Paul.

So far today, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul lead the candidates in the number of Tweets. Santorum and Huntsman are being Tweeted about the least.

The candidate emphasis has changed dramatically in the last week. Although the total number of Tweets was down on January 10, Paul and Huntsman, who finished second and third in the New Hampshire primary, were the Tweet leaders. Huntsman was the only candidate whose numbers increased - by more than 50,000 Tweets.

Huntsman had started to become more visible the weekend before the New Hampshire primary, at the time of the weekend debates. He was Tweeted about more on Sunday than he had been on any single day since mid-December, and many of them referenced the debates. But on January 11, the day after the New Hampshire primary, Tweets about Huntsman dropped to 11,250 - and he beat only Rick Santorum in total Tweets. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were in first and second place.


Methodology

The CBS News/TNS tool measures and evaluates the Twitter conversation about the Republican presidential candidates on a daily basis. It provides the volume of Tweets per candidate and the proportion of positive and negative non-informational English-language Tweets. Tweets are categorized based on a text mining algorithm developed by TNS and Vigiglobe, specifically designed to analyze online political discussions, and that extracts the sentiment contained in each Tweet. This allows second to second monitoring of people's opinions on Twitter, providing instant reads on the current Twitter conversation about political candidates.

TNS has a presence in over 80 countries, and advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

Graphical displays are powered by Vigiglobe, a company that analyzes how the social web impacts the image and reputation of private companies, public institutions and political leaders.

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