By October 23, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

Canadian focus group on last night’s Presidential debate

Canadian political enthusiasts had their second screens at hand for last night’s third and final US Presidential debate. An estimated 107,816 Canadians issued 128,814 tweets mentioning the debate, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

That’s a lot of Twitter traffic, on par with the number of tweets issued by Canadians on May 2, 2011, the date of our last federal election.

A majority of participants came and went in a single tweet (81%) — roughly 17% issued 2-4 tweets and 2% issued 5-7 tweets. The most engaged (those who issued 8 or more tweets) were statistically insignificant.

I performed a cursory (emphasis on cursory) analysis of sentiment and found that, overall, Canadians favoured Barack Obama. Of the tweets mentioning the current President, 6% were positive and 9% negative. Of those mentioning Mitt Romney, 5% were positive and 11% negative. A deeper dive into context, language and tone would be necessary to arrive at more credible/meaningful sentiment analysis. I just don’t think I’ll have the time to review 128,814 tweets anytime soon.

Canadians seemed particular taken by Barack Obama’s lessons to Mitt Romney on the modern military. This is evidenced by the more popular terms appearing in tweets which featured horses, fewer and bayonets. Other standout terms include Iran, China, [bin] Laden and teachers (Canadians were particularly miffed at Romney for calling out teachers’ unions and putting teachers “at the back of the line”).

Women tweeted only slightly more about Barack Obama than Mitt Romney.

Provincially, Ontario issued the greatest number of debate-related tweets (59%) followed by BC (12%), Québec (10%) and Alberta (9%). All other provinces and territories combined for 10% of Canadian tweets about the debate.

Analysis performed using Marketwire/Sysomos MAP.

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About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.