On Twitter, Romney Won the First Debate

That was fast! Online analytics company PeopleBrowsr (the folks behind Kred) used their access to the full Twitter “firehose” to aggregate and analyze the pattern of debate-related Tweets sent out last night. Here’s what they found:

Twitter during the Presidential Debate

  • Number of tweets overall. During the 90-minute debate, there were 10.4 million tweets mentioning Mitt Romney, Barack Obama or the debate.
  • Tweets specifically mentioning Obama and “win or winner.” Total: 29,677.
  • Tweets specifically mentioning Romney and “win or winner.” Total: 47,141.
  • The peak of overall activity Twitter activity was highest between 9:48 and 9:58 pm EDT, peaking at 9:53, during a discussion about health insurance and regulation. The second largest peak was at 9:28 pm EDT, just after Romney suggested cutting funding to PBS despite the fact that he loves Big Bird.
  • Peak mentions of the candidates. Peak mentions of Romney occurred at 9:53 pm EDT during the health insurance discussion. Peak mentions of Obama came at 10:01 pm EDT during a discussion about Obamacare and Romney’s healthcare record in Massachusetts.

“This is the first Presidential debate in history where social media has given voice to so many people, allowing them to express their opinions and observations in real time,” said Jodee Rich, CEO of PeopleBrowser. “Analyzing collective intelligence in the form of social media data allows anyone the opportunity to collect insights and understand their target markets.”

Interesting! I’m not sure what broad lessons we can learn, other than that the Twitter audience agreed with most post-debate polling that showed that viewers thought Romney had “won,” whatever that means. Now the REAL fight is on — to spin the results, and for each candidate to learn from how he did.

BTW, also check out this Forbes piece on how Twitter has changed the environment in which the debates take place. Update: Business Insider has more debate-related Twitter analytics, including sentiment analysis of people’s tweets about the candidates, from SAP. Update II: Twitter itself put together a graphic showing the peaks and valleys in the online conversation during different parts of the debate.


Written by
Colin Delany
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