Paul Ryan VP selection: who benefited most on Twitter?

Steven Loeb · August 12, 2012 · Short URL:

Both Obama and Romney see positives go up after selection, while Ryan's followers surge

With an extended Republican primary, it seems like the 2012 presidential campaign has been going on forever, at least for those of us who have been following it since the beginning. The old axiom is, though, that most people will not really start paying attention until the last few months of the campaign.

With Mitt Romney picking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate this weekend, if the reaction on Twitter to Romney’s selection on Saturday is any indication, it seems like people are finally ready to take a look at the race.

In just the first eight hours after launching, the newly created @PaulRyanVP account gained around 60,000 followers. The account now has over 78,000 followers. Ryan's official congressional office account, @RepPaulRyan, approached 175,000 followers, Twitter said on its blog on Saturday.

That account now has over 182,000 followers.

The news of Romney’s selection leaked at 11 PM the previous day, resulting in Tweets referencing Ryan to immediately increase, hitting nearly a thousand a minute by 1 AM.

As Paul Ryan was being introduced by Romney in Virginia, nearly 4,000 Tweets per minute were being sent out about the news.

Positive or negative reaction?

So more people were paying attention. Who, then, actually benefited from the Twitter explosion?

The Twitter Political Index shows that the announcement was good for both campaigns on Twitter, though it resulted in a bigger bump for Romney, as should be expected.

President Obama saw his score go up by eight points from the previous day, up to 32, while Romney’s score exploded, going up by 25 points, to 39. Obama’s score had been falling recently, after hitting 74 earlier in the week.

The Twitter Political Index evaluates if the Tweets containing each candidate’s name are positive or negative, relative to the other 400 million Tweets sent out. So in the case of Obama’s 32 score, his Tweets are that percentage more positive than 32% of every Tweet sent. A score below 50 shows that the Tweets are, on average, more negative than positive.

The numbers show that, while both candidates are both being Tweeted about more negatively than positively, both saw their positives go up as a result of the Ryan selection.

It should not be surprising that Romney got a bounce after naming his running mate, as candidates historically have seen their poll numbers rise immediately following the selection, even if the bounce is usually short lived, according to a Gallup report from back in 2008.

Every election from 1996 to 2004 saw the candidate get at least a little bounce after naming their vice presidential selection.

“When a candidate announces his choice of running mate, he can expect to dominate the news with what is usually very positive coverage. And such a wave of positive coverage can usually fuel a bounce in the polls, as it does around the conventions,” the report said.

“Of course, the vice presidential announcement is quickly overtaken by other campaign events, such as the conventions and, later, the debates. And thus, at least in recent years, any impact of the announcement proves to be short-lived.”

It is too soon to tell whether or not Romney selecting Ryan will help or hurt him in his bid for the Presidency. For the immediate future, though, it has certainly improved his standing in the social media world. 

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