More Tweets, More Votes: Social Media as a Quantitative Indicator of Political Behavior

11 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2013  

Joseph DiGrazia

Indiana University, Bloomington

Karissa McKelvey

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Informatics and Computing

Johan Bollen

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Informatics and Computing

Fabio Rojas

Indiana University

Date Written: February 21, 2013

Abstract

Is social media a valid indicator of political behavior? We answer this question using a random sample of 537,231,508 tweets from August 1 to November 1, 2010 and data from 406 competitive U.S. congressional elections provided by the Federal Election Commission. Our results show that the percentage of Republican-candidate name mentions correlates with the Republican vote margin in the subsequent election. This finding persists even when controlling for incumbency, district partisanship, media coverage of the race, time, and demographic variables such as the district’s racial and gender composition. With over 500 million active users in 2012, Twitter now represents a new frontier for the study of human behavior. This research provides a framework for incorporating this emerging medium into the computational social science toolkit.

Keywords: Computational Social Science, Elections, Twitter, Social Media

Suggested Citation

DiGrazia, Joseph and McKelvey, Karissa and Bollen, Johan and Rojas, Fabio, More Tweets, More Votes: Social Media as a Quantitative Indicator of Political Behavior (February 21, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2235423 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2235423

Joseph DiGrazia (Contact Author)

Indiana University, Bloomington ( email )

Ballantine Hall 744
1020 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Karissa McKelvey

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Informatics and Computing ( email )

901 E 10th St
Bloomington, IN 47401
United States

Johan Bollen

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Informatics and Computing ( email )

901 E 10th St
Bloomington, IN 47401
United States

Fabio Rojas

Indiana University ( email )

107 S Indiana Ave
100 South Woodlawn
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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