Primary winners also top Twitter

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a crowd at a campaign event, in Broomall, Penn., Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

(CBS News) 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.

CBS News has partnered with TNS and Vigiglobe to present the CBS News/TNS Campaign Social Media Tracker, which captures and analyzes people's real time opinions about the Republican contenders as expressed on Twitter.

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.

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 and a machine-learning 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.

Real Time Pulse: A minute-by-minute view of the campaign on Twitter