Nerval's Lobster writes "Forget Nate Silver and the other statisticians’ complex formulas for predicting today’s U.S. presidential election; disregard the hallucinating Peruvian shamans who claim they already know whether Obama or Romney takes the big prize (Silver apparently has nothing on Peru’s indigenous hill-gods); don’t bother staying awake for the results to appear on CNN or Fox News.
Obama’s the winner—if one relies on Twitter mentions in place of actual votes.
Mark Graham, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, enlisted a small team to help him with a little Election Day experiment: collect 30 million geocoded Tweets over the month of October, isolate mentions of candidates Obama and Romney, and then visualize all that data on a map of the United States. (Hat tip to The Guardian and The Huffington Post for pointing out Graham’s work.) A total of 132,771 tweets mentioned Obama, versus 120,637 for Romney. That translates into a “popular vote” total for Obama of 52.4 percent, with 47.6 percent for Romney. While that’s within the same ballpark as actual opinion polls, Graham admits that his Twitter experiment neglects one crucial detail: sentiment analysis. Moreover, the Twitter analysis has Obama winning states he’s unlikely to carry in real life, including Texas and much of the Deep South; in a similar vein, Romney is unlikely to actually win Oregon or some of the other states that end up in his column on the Twitter map."
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