Correlations Between Social Media and the 2020 Presidential Election
TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read
- Well, we all know the results of the election and social media had an influence on voter turn out.
- Republican related tweets out numbered democratic related tweets and may indicate higher tweet frequency, more users, and/or people are more inclinded to tweet republican related tweets.
- Here is the data, make your own conclusions.
Oscar Wilde once wrote “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”. This is along the idea that any press is good press and with Trump in 2016 this seemed to be the case. The 2016 election showed us that social media can have an effect on who become president and runs the country. We also learned in 2016 that polls and approval ratings just didn’t cut it and it doesn’t tell us much. After all, Trump polled lower in 2016 and then who got to run the country? Here we look at trending twitter hashtags and terms as they relate to one of the two major political parties leading up to the 2020 election. Looking at other data sources and taking different angles can always provide valuable insight to the topic at hand.
We gathered the top 50 trending topics on Twitter each day for the past year. These topics are presented in the form of hashtages (#) and trending words, terms, or phrases. With this data we can investigate how many days a topic was trending as well as the changes in total tweet volume for a topic. Tweet data was provided by @igetthetags .
We take no political side and remain objective in our exploration. In addition, no sentiment analysis was done on all the tweets to determine if they were for or against a particular political party. Hence, we reiterate that any press is good press and consider all mentions to be positive for one party or another. We used particular search terms to classify a trending topic into one of two classes; republican or democrat. A hashtag is categorized as democratic if it contains any of the following words: ‘joebiden’, ‘biden’, ‘kamalaharris’, ‘harris’, ‘democrat’. A hashtag is categorized as republican if it contains any of the following words: ‘donaldtrump’, ‘trump’, ‘mikepence’, ‘pence’, ‘republican’ . Remember, hashtags do not contain spaces and thus our classification terms do not as well.
The republicans appear to be ahead with respect to social media “buzz”. Several events and news have instigated many tweets. Below is a timeline of important events or news and the corresponding tweet volumes colored by political party.
In addition to political classification, we looked at some interesting tweet topics that had high volumes. The terms in the following table stemmed from very polarizing events and spurred many political related tweets.
The corona virus or COVID19 was a difficult obstacle that the world faced in 2020. It was also a “hot” topic that sparked many conversations and tweets with respect to the virus as well as politics.
Despite your political leanings, you can admit that the data is interesting. Social media is a powerful information tool and keeping a finger on the pulse may be a good idea.
More Data and Interpretation Coming Soon