Saturday, August 29, 2015

Twitter Primary: Following and Presidential Candidate Support


In my last post I talked about how candidates Facebook followings predict their standing in the polls.  I came across this graph about the number of fake Twitter followers the top candidates have.  I decided to look at how the candidates followers on twitter correspond with their respective standing in the polls.  The poll numbers are updated to 8/28/2015.  The correlations are presented in  charts below.

Plot for Democrats
The scatterplot for the democratic candidates is presented here with the best fit regression line.  The data for this relationship fit the poll averages better than that for the Facebook followers.  The Facebook followers accounted for 75.8% of the variability where the twitter followers accounted for 80.2%.  Lincoln Chafee did not have a Facebook page but did have a twitter account.  Some candidates, such as Bernie Sanders have more than one account.  The official campaign account was used in this analysis.  Sanders twitter followers are an outlier, unlike his Facebook plot, on this plot with his support higher than what is predicted by the model.

Plot for Republicans
Likewise there is a stronger relationship between the number of twitter and their poll averages for the Republicans than there is for Facebook followers.  The Facebook gain in followers accounted for 70.6% of the variability while the Twitter Followers accounted for 75.5%.  As with the Facebook followers, Jeb Bush could be considered an outlier with the predicted poll average being lower than his actual support.  On both websites, Donald Trump has big influence.
enten-mccann-datalab-trump 
Even if a third of Clinton's and Trump's Twitter followers are fake (either spammers or invented by the campaign which Newt Gingrich did in 2012), they still have more real followers than the rest of the field.  Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not readily provide data on the level of engagement and it is time consuming to count the number of retweets and favorites each candidate gets.  The total social media presence may be more important than just the presence on one website.  The above graphic from Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com shows the patter that Trump follows in attacking and being attacked by his rivals.  Ted Cruz does not appear on either attack chart. 

Candidate
Party
RCP Poll Avg % 8/29
Twitter Followers
Hillary Clinton
D
47.8
    4,134,386
Bernie Sanders
D
26.3
       384,884
Martin O'Malley
D
1.5
         82,141
Lincoln Chafee
D
0.5
         18,836
Joe Biden
D
14
       906,498
Jim Webb
D
1.3
         13,204
Donald Trump
R
23.5
    3,956,287
Ted Cruz
R
7.3
        482,118
Mike Huckabee
R
4
       395,910
Rick Santorum
R
1
       240,752
Ben Carson
R
10.2
       526,669
Rand Paul
R
3.8
       674,240
Lindsey Graham
R
0.3
         24,766
Jeb Bush
R
9.8
       279,516
Scott Walker
R
7.3
       197,592
Marco Rubio
R
7.3
       828,483
Chris Christie
R
3.5
         43,600
Rick Perry
R
1.3
       314,584
Bobby Jindal
R
0.5
        211,195
Carly Fiorina
R
6
       467,419
John Kasich
R
4.5
       100,335
George Pataki
R
0
         46,912
Jim Gilmore
R
0
           1,133

**Related Posts**



The Ethics of Social Media Manipulation

Facebook Primary 2016, August Update, Does it Predict Support? 

It's All About The Likes

Mother Jones Saw My Method?