140 Characters to Victory?: Using Twitter to Predict the UK 2015 General Election
8 Pages Posted: 8 May 2015
Date Written: May 6, 2015
The election forecasting ‘industry’ is a growing one, both in the volume of scholars producing forecasts and methodological diversity. In recent years a new approach has emerged that relies on social media and particularly Twitter data to predict election outcomes. While some studies have shown the method to hold a surprising degree of accuracy there has been criticism over the lack of consistency and clarity in the methods used, along with inevitable problems of population bias. In this paper we set out a ‘baseline’ model for using Twitter as an election forecasting tool that we then apply to the UK 2015 General Election. The paper builds on existing literature by extending the use of Twitter as a forecasting tool to the UK context and identifying its limitations, particularly with regard to its application in a multi-party environment with geographic concentration of power for minor parties.
Keywords: Election Forecasting, Twitter, Sentiment Analysis, Opinion Mining
JEL Classification: D72, C63, C80
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