Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment

author: Timm O. Sprenger, Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften, TU Munich
published: June 29, 2010,   recorded: May 2010,   views: 7604


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Twitter is a microblogging website where users read and write millions of short messages on a variety of topics every day. This study uses the context of the German federal election to investigate whether Twitter is used as a forum for political deliberation and whether online messages on Twitter validly mirror offline political sentiment. Using LIWC text analysis software, we conducted a content-analysis of over 100,000 messages containing a reference to either a political party or a politician. Our results show that Twitter is indeed used extensively for political deliberation. We find that the mere number of messages mentioning a party reflects the election result. Moreover, joint mentions of two parties are in line with real world political ties and coalitions. An analysis of the tweets’ political sentiment demonstrates close correspondence to the parties' and politicians’ political positions indicating that the content of Twitter messages plausibly reflects the offline political landscape. We discuss the use of microblogging message content as a valid indicator of political sentiment and derive suggestions for further research.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Cosford Roberts, June 29, 2015 at 8:08 p.m.:

Very Informative. As a very heavy user of Social Media five years prior and up to the May 11, 2015 Guyana General Elections, I can attest that the analysis provided in this presentation reflected the trends and outcome of those elections and I consider the assertions to be valid.

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