404 of 406 winners of 2010 elections were correctly predicted by Twitter.
A study by Indiana University shows that data from Twitter was able to correctly predict the winners of 404 of the 406 House of Representatives elections held in 2010.
The study found a correlation between the number of times a candidate for the House of Representatives was mentioned on Twitter in the months before an election and their performance in that election. The more a candidate is mentioned on Twitter, the better, regardless of whether the comments were positive or negative.
"Are you going to talk about the guy who loses or the guy who wins?" the report quoted study coauthor Fabio Rojas as saying. "You’re going to talk about the winner, even if you hate the winner."
This means that political consultants and statisticians could use data from the social networking site in the same way they use polling data. Political campaigns may even assign dedicated political Twitter analysts, if they haven’t already.
"From the beginning, we were looking to construct simple and easy to operationalize measures of political behavior and attitudes that could be useful to social scientists," Joe DiGrazia, one of the researchers, told the Atlantic.
Alex Roarty wrote at National Journal: "In Rojas’s view, the findings should revolutionize how campaigns conduct themselves. Rather than spending hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars on surveys, campaigns could simply gauge their status on Twitter. That should help campaigns with fewer resources compete with well-heeled incumbents," he said.
8% of America adults use Twitter on a daily basis, and only 15% do not have an account, depicting a large proportion of the voting population.