With two new candidates joining the Democratic Primary race over the past couple of weeks, we are looking at how online activity for the leading candidates is shaping up and in particular, the striking correlation between this activity and the polls.
Before diving into the numbers, it is important to define our data. When Eyesover analyzes online conversations (from Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, and news sites), we are focused on narrowing the mentions down to original content. As a result, we ignore retweets, likes and shares since there is no new content produced through those actions. We also eliminate bots, fake accounts, and spam through a variety of checks and aggregate multiple mentions of the same topic from a single account, so there is equal weighting from each account in our datasets. In effect, our "mentions" are a count of individual accounts that are "talking about" a candidate or topic. All of these actions leave us with data that we are confident will provide an accurate view of the public's opinion.
The above graph demonstrates how the volume of people talking about each candidate correlates to the candidate's standing in recent polls. Biden is well ahead of the rest with Warren, Harris, Sanders forming a second group.
An interesting additional metric is the average sentiment expressed in the conversations about each candidate. While most are in a relatively neutral range (scoring between -0.1 and +0.1 out of a -1 to +1 range), Eric Swalwell and Kristen Gillibrand are the two candidates that have scores firmly in negative territory while Jay Inslee is the only one with a clearly positive score. Swalwell's volume and sentiment combination indicates his heightened volume consists of significant criticism and as a result, is not leading to support in the polls.
Another takeaway from our monitoring is that it seems the window for entering the race and being the focus of the news cycle has closed. Throughout the spring, almost all candidacy announcements gained enough media coverage to provide candidates with an opportunity to earn significant name recognition. Recent entrants into the race such as NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Montana Governor Steve Bullock, have not been afforded either opportunity, likely due to the crowded field, and as a result, neither candidate recorded any large increases in mentions online.