Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mitt or Barack? Who is more popular on the Web?

Today I decided to do some mid-term presidential elections coolhunting. Looking at the exchange of negative attacks between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, I was curious if I would see some reflection of this on Twitter, Blogs, Web pages, and online News. According to realclearpolitics aggregated polls, Obama was ahead in the polls today with 47% against 44.6% for Romney. The picture below shows today's tweets containing "obama president 2012" and "romney president 2012", confirming the polls:
Each blue dot is a twitter user tweeting about Obama, each green dot is a twitter user tweeting about Romney, each red dot is a user tweeting about both. A connecting line means that a twitterer is retweeting another user. The dot labeled "obama president 2012 0.615" shows that the accumulated weight of the twitterers about Obama is 62%, while the dot labeled "romney president 2012 0.55" illustrates that the Twittersphere gives Romney a weight of 55%. This means that at least among today's twitterers - an admittedly small group - Obama easily beats Romney.

I then did another Condor coolhunting for the same search strings "obama president 2012" and "romney president 2012" combining the Web, Blog, and online News link networks of the search results returned by Bing, Bing News, and Google Blog Search.

As the betweenness numbers in the picture above show, Obama also beats Romney among bloggers, general Web sites, and News articles. Each connecting line is a link pointing from one Web site, blog, or news site to another. I then calculated betweenness centrality of these Web site, listed in the bar chart below:
Wikipedia is by far the most influential Web site for presidential elections, with Facebook as a distant second. Surprisingly two UK newspapers, the Guardian and DailyMail easily make it into the top web sites, together with US news Web sites. Mitt Romney's Web site beats Barack Obama's online store, but AARP's Web site, catering to senior citizens, beats them both. My conclusion, at least for today, is that things on the Web, just like in the polls, don't look too good for Mitt Romney. But there is still a long way to go until November 6.

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