The Politics of Tweeting: What Hashtag Use Says About Your Values and Nationality

The Politics of Tweeting: What Hashtag Use Says About Your Values and Nationality

Introduction

While I was reading tweets about elections for the U.S. Senate and for the Ontario provincial government in Canada, it struck me how political speech was different between the United States and Canada. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it seemed to me that Canadian political speech was more toned down than its American counterpart. With over five million tweets coming out of these elections, I set out to analyze just how political speech on Twitter is different –not just from everyday tweets, but across political parties between Canada and the U.S.

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Follow Live Twitter Forecasts for Senate Battleground States

Follow Live Twitter Forecasts for Senate Battleground States

Senate Battle Royale

The US midterm elections on November 4, 2014 may see a change in Senate control from the Democrats to the Republicans. This potential change raises the stakes of this year’s senate race considerably. There are several “battleground” states — states where the election could swing either way. Some key ones are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina. For up-to-the-minute results, I use Twitter to forecast the current standings.

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What Did the World Say About Putin After the MH17 Tragedy?

What Did the World Say About Putin After the MH17 Tragedy?

Introduction

The downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014 over the Crimean Peninsula was an international tragedy. It is believed that the plane was downed by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. With the debris field within rebel occupied territory, it wasn’t until July 23, 2014 –nearly a week later–before the victims could be identified and returned to their families.

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What Went Wrong with the Poll Forecast in Ontario’s Last Election?

What Went Wrong with the Poll Forecast in Ontario’s Last Election?

Introduction

In my two previous posts about the June 2014 Ontario provincial election[1][2], I reported on the results of forecasting opinion polls in real time using Twitter, and compared how that forecast fared against traditional forecasting techniques. Those techniques were very successful, but somewhat unsatisfying for me, personally: I felt they needed to have outside information, such as the aggregate polling history. But they did mirror the polls quite closely. This is fine when the polls are accurate, but they are unable to forecast when the polls are off. For example, in this particular election, the polls were calling for a slight victory by the Liberals, but not enough to give the Liberals a majority government. The election, however, produced a much larger gap between the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives than predicted.

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How Much Can Social Media Improve Poll Forecasting? You’ll Be Surprised

How Much Can Social Media Improve Poll Forecasting? You’ll Be Surprised

Introduction

In a previous post[1], I discussed the difference between predicting and forecasting, the latter being what I am most interested in. I showed that by using Twitter as an additional source of data it was possible to forecast polls in the June 12 Ontario election 24-48 hours before they are available. The forecasts derived from the Twitter-based model accurately tracked the aggregate polls.

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