NEWS2 August 2012

Twitter unveils Political Index

Government North America

US— Twitter has launched a new tool to analyse user sentiment towards Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the race to become the next US president.

The microblogging site developed the Political Index tool in partnership with pollsters the Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research and data analysis firm Topsy.

Tweets mentioning either candidate or their Twitter name are evaluated and compared to other mentions. The algorithm used by Twitter does not examine hashtags or humourous or sarcastic mentions of either candidate.

Ratings are provided every day on a score between 1 (very negative) and 100 (very positive), with scores tracked over time to see whether sentiment has improved or deteriorated.

Adam Sharp, who heads up government, social and news innovation at Twitter, told the Los Angeles Times that the site was not looking to replace traditional pollsters, but present a “meaningful window into conversations” about the political landscape.