Thursday, August 11, 2011

Twitter Analysis of the Ames Debate

During the last GOP Presidential debate in June, I did an analysis of the trending topics on Twitter immediately afterwards and got a lot of positive responses.

So, back by popular demand, here's another city-by-city analysis of what everyone was tweeting about the debate in Ames, Iowa tonight. One thing is immediately clear: there were a lot fewer debate-related trending topics than when I did this analysis in June. Not sure if there were less overall tweets, or if an election that's still more than a year away was overshadowed by the controversy about whether Bert and Ernie should get married (Yes, "Bert and Ernie" is a trending topic in many cities tonight, and yes this is a real issue. I wish I were kidding.) but the Ames debate was definitely less of a presence on the trending topics lists tonight.

Anyway, here's your trending topics (if a city is not listed, then it did not have any debate-related trending topics):

Overall United States: T-Paw
Atlanta: Ron Paul
Austin: #GOPdebate
Boston: Mitt Romney
Chicago: Ron Paul
Dallas-Ft. Worth: Ron Paul   Rick Perry
Denver: Ron Paul
Houston: Rick Perry   Ron Paul
Los Angeles: Rick Santorum   Mitt Romney
Minneapolis: Ron Paul
Nashville: Ron Paul
New York: #GOPdebate   Mitt Romney   Santorum
Orlando: Rick Perry
Phoenix: Rick Perry
San Antonio: Rick Perry
San Francisco: Mitt Romney
Seattle: Mitt Romney
Tampa: Rick Perry
Washington: #gopdebate   Rick Santorum   T-Paw   Jon Huntsman

The important thing to remember is that the presence of a name on the trending topics list does not necessarily equal support. All it means is that people were talking about that candidate. In the case of Ron Paul, the overwhelming number of responses I saw were extremely negative. Paul's rabid fans don't like to admit it, but his foreign policy is just way, way out of the Republican mainstream and he has no chance of winning the primary.

Someone Tell Ron Paul that Iran is a threat because their leaders are even Crazier than he is #amesdebate #GOPdebate #iowadebateFri Aug 12 02:23:15 via TweetDeck

Ron Paul would be great for the economy, but unfortunately, we'd be blown up by a nuclear Iran before we got to enjoy it. #amesdebateFri Aug 12 02:16:35 via TweetDeck

The presence of Rick Perry on so many cities' lists is very interesting, considering that he was not even in Iowa tonight and has not officially declared his candidacy yet (although rumors say he will do so on Saturday at the RedState Gathering in Charleston, SC). Perry was definitely the "elephant" in the room. (Ha ha...get it? Elephant, like the Republican mascot? Sometimes I just crack myself up.) Michele Bachmann had a great answer to Bret Baier's question about Perry, saying there was room for Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and even Bret himself if he wanted to get in...but the reality is that many of the candidates on the stage tonight know that if when Perry enters the race, their chances of victory will drop significantly.

In other news. Rick Perry is looking great. #amesdebateFri Aug 12 02:39:33 via Twitter for iPhone

I'll post some more thoughts about the debate later if I get a chance, but wanted to get this posted. What did you think about the debate? Were you following on Twitter? Who do you think won the debate? Leave a note in the comments!


  1. Here's some good debate commentary by Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets on Twitter):

  2. This is a great breakdown. Although trending does not mean support, I find it interesting that Romney was trending in the "blue" cities (Seattle, SFO, Boston, NY). I wonder if T-Paw will become that "Generic Republican" that is polling so well against Obama?

  3. pretty interesting way to analyze the debate. thanks for sharing it.

  4. I don't understand the connection between the list of trending topics to the anti-Paul tweets and the one about Rick Perry. Could you explain it?

  5. Ron Paul and Rick Perry showed up on a lot of the cities trending topics. that's probably why she discussed them. pretty remarkable that the guy who wasn't even there was on so many lists.

  6. Interesting: a few updates the morning after the debate, as of 11:00 am EDT:

    Orlando: #GOPDebate
    Washington: Ames, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann

  7. Anonymous, cutting and pasting two one-sided tweets and some Perry-related snark is not discussion. Romney, Santorum, and Huntsman also showed up on that list of trends, but weren't mentioned in the article.

  8. Seriously, Jeff? I didn't claim this was a comprehensive analysis of the debate. It's just a fun little twitter analysis I've been doing that no one else seems to do. It was late last night & I was tired. I posted links to a few other people's posts who DID longer analyses this morning if you're feeling underinformed. But really, if you don't like what I'm doing here, go start your own blog. Costs $10 to register a domain on GoDaddy.



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