Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Election 2012 - Who can resist social media meets politics????

During the fall, I spent some time looking at the Republican political field (link here)as well as President Obama (Link 1 here, Link 2 here).  While there have been a hundred debates already on the Republican side and even some controversy around that Chrysler Ad during the Superbowl, the reality is we are really getting into the thick of the political season.  And whether you are a Republican or a Democrat the thought of how social media analytics is going to impact this election is exhilarating.  Which ever candidate can tap the power of what people are saying and how they can make adjustments to their strategies is going to have a huge advantage in the coming election.  There is so much proof of how social media commentary can impact things.  As I wrote the other day, I was amazed when doing some novel prototyping of new social media methods, how impactful these methods can be.  In fact, I was visiting customer looking at some historical data around some business analysis and we were all shocked to dimensionalize how social media could have impacted how they dealt with issue.  We literally all learned something about their strategy and the social media reality of the situation.  It was almost shocking.

As I always say when it comes to social media analysis, it is the wild west (link here), but it is changing in 2012 .  Everyone is realizing the social media sun is coming up and there is so much room to grow (link here).  As for the political climate, I decided to take a wholesale look at the last 5 candidates using brand passion and little funky dance with the data.  For this data pull, I created a brand passion index around two key data points.  I took each candidates' data for the full year from 2/8/11 to 2/8/12.  And since the election is in 2012, I pulled the data since the 1st of the year to give a sense of comparison. 

This brand passion index is getting pretty fascinating to me.  If you looked at my previous posts, you will see some interesting things.  For one...President Obama is slowly improving his brand passion.  while he does have the most negative sentiment overall, he is showing some significant movement in since year began.  What is most amazing about this is the sheer volume of data that he generates.  Moving the titanic is difficult and the good news for President Obama is his is moving in the right direction...upward.

As for the Republican field, it really is sort of a mess.  With the pummeling the President has taken since the 2010 elections, any movement at all is welcome.  As for the Republican field, however, they all live in a better world of sentiment, but boy do people lack passion for them all.  Good, bad or otherwise President Obama generates more passion than all of them by a long shot.  If you think about what is going in the race for the nomination we see decent correlation with all the things being said.

Mitt Romney continues to languish in the neutrality land of mediocre passion.  And if you look at past posts on the subject he really is dead stuck where he has been versus every analysis I have done.  He may have the most buzz of the candidates (a good thing), but he can get ahead. 

Newt is true that he had a brilliant flash forward, but he has peaked and is slowly diving down.  His reality is looks like has not broken out as he thought.  He merely caused a rucus that seems to be dying (much like our friend Herman Cain) (link here).

As for Santorum; even though is the darling that last few days, I would say that his overall buzz and position are good, but not great.  He trails all candidates in buzz, which means that he is not dominating the discussion as much as a real threat should.  They say too little too late...I agree. 

And Ron Paul...he does have the most passion an strongest sentiment.  I would even argue he is in the best position of everyone.  Those who like him...really do.  The problem he faces is this it seems like a passionate niche following.  I would say this, however, he is a real threat to the Republicans is he is a 3rd party candidate.  He could easily throw the balance of the election by pulling 3-4% of the vote should he run.

But lets take a different look at this data.  Below is a chart that shows the raw data that makes up this chart.  We will see their Buzz, Sentiment and Passion for the two periods discussed.  But I added another column.  To get a sense of "momentum" I also calculated what percentage of their buzz in 2012 represents the total.  It seems like an interesting way to look at their momentum going forward.  And I believe the results are interesting to say the least.

Looking at the momentum column you will see little surprise that President Obama's buzz since the beginning of the year is the lowest.  He generates so many sound bites and is in the news for so many reasons the buzz since the beginning of the year is proportional.  That being said to see a 7 point jump in his sentiment versus the last year is pretty amazing.  That is a big jump in the last 5 weeks.  It is real.  The economic news they say bodes well for him.  These number suggest that is true.

The next number worth noting is Rick Santorum's.  It is amazing to see that the amount of buzz he generates as a percentage over the past year is almost 66%.  While his buzz is lower, this change in momentum means to me that there real discussion going on about him.  It is almost as if the Republicans are trying to figure out what to do.  It will be interesting to watch how this "momentum" changes.  It will cool to watch if we keep calculating this number going forward if it goes up or down.  The conversation is real but will it amount to anything.

On the flip side, our potential spoiler Ron Paul is seeing the opposite trend.  He may have the best position in the brand passion index, but his momentum is starting to wane as are most of his polling numbers.  The discussion for him a s serious candidate is waning but those who talk about him love him as we all already know.  Watch out gang...if his brand passion maintains you are looking at very interesting situation should he run as a 3rd party.

As for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.  They are deadlocked in the middle on momentum.  Both of them have generated 45% of their buzz since the beginning of the year.  Boy are they simply floating along.  Neither of them seizing position against everyone else.

What we see here is what we hear.  Candidates are trading positions rapidly.  One would expect that Mitt Romney should have a higher "momentum" in his buzz, but alas even with the most buzz his acceleration is lower that Rick Santorum.

What does this all mean.  Not sure, but I do believe we may have uncovered another metric in social media we can track and watch going forward.  The concept of social media momentum may be a very telling sign of things to come as the year wears on.

It will be interesting to watch the following

1. Once the Repuclican Field picks its candidate will we see a major climb in the President's "momentum?  For now there is little need to discuss him politically as the fight is going on somewhere else.

2.  Will future Romney wins correlate to greater momentum for his candidacy? He is generating the buzz, but he lives in a sad part of the Brand Passion Index AND he has less momentum in the discussion. That needs to change.

3. Can Santorum continue his astonishing momentum or will the vetting he is going slam into going to affect it?  He has the attention of everyone after the other night.  That could be good or bad.  When Rick Perry had it...he nose dived.  When Herman Cain had it, he did too.  Newt Gingrich...same thing.  No one has stood up to Romney effectively, but we shall see.

Boy politics is fun regardless of your affiliation.  I find watching it unfold and linking it to social media is a great way to take over the wild west...

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