Twitter Reacts to First 2012 Presidential Election Debate

Twitter conversation agrees that Romney won Wednesday night’s presidential debate. But a closer look reveals that this victory may not be enough to secure the election.
Twitter has had a lot to say since last night’s debate. In fact, Twitter reported today that this debate is the most Tweeted-about political event in history. Using Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ platform, we took a look at nearly 13 million opinions about Wednesday night’s debate.
In general, it appears the conversation confirms snap polls by various news organizations, indicating the public thought Romney won the debate. 25% of the relevant Twitter conversation says President Barack Obama appeared “rusty,” while another 22% claims former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was “on his game.” But ForSight also revealed a particularly interesting nuance to this conversation.

While the commentary on Twitter almost unanimously chose Romney as the winner of last night’s debate, it seems this had no effect on raising support for the Republican’s candidacy.
Historically, conversations on Twitter about Romney have been unfavorable. Using ForSight to keep tabs on 9,761,250 opinions related to the candidate since the Republican National Convention, the conversation leans heavily against him: a mere 3% of the conversation favors Romney, while 49% derides him.

Within the debate conversation, these numbers haven’t seemed to budge; the portion of this conversation praising Romney’s policies is nearly absent. Meanwhile, 12% disagree with the policies Mitt espoused during the debate, and 16% support those Obama discussed.
Although the Twitter conversation confirms Romney left Wednesday’s debate victorious as an orator, it appears this kind of victory has not resulted in any change in the conversation’s lack of support for Romney’s policies.
Taking a look at the humorous debate commentary since last night, which accounts for 14% of the conversation, Romney’s suggestion of giving Sesame Street star Big Bird the pink slip is the subject of many jokes, as is the topic of Obama’s wedding anniversary.
But not all the debate conversation concerns the men on stage. Moderator Jim Lehrer has earned himself 10% of debate commentary, all of which criticizes the former PBS news anchor’s inability to control the debate.
Without a doubt, Wednesday’s debate was a major victory for Romney. But how much will this victory truly affect the outcome of the election, considering the conversations on Twitter?
Do you want to learn more about how deciphering online opinion translates into better understanding of consumer sentiment, and how that improves key decision-making and results? Download our complimentary white paper Listen, Understand, Act.

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