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What a difference a year and even a week makes. When we started tracking the presidential election coverage a year and a half ago, we aimed to test a few theories:
As the campaigns wind down, here is what we have found out.
Throughout the election, Trump has maintained a significant lead in coverage over time and share of voice. He handily beat his Republican primary contenders in both media and polling data. Share of voice and media coverage continued at their high levels post primaries, but his coverage lead did start to narrow against Clinton and his polling numbers seemed to be falling.
A few of our experts dug in deep to see if there was truly a correlation between coverage and polling results. What we discovered: Media coverage has been impacting Trump and Clinton in different ways. As Trump’s media coverage rose, his polling numbers rose as well. Surprisingly, rises in media coverage of Clinton also correlated to upward movement in Trump’s polling numbers. This may explain some of the recent polling as well. Since the FBI letter and report leaked last week, Clinton has experienced more media coverage and her polling has declined, while Trump’s numbers have surged slightly.
Naturally, we looked at other factors—including sentiment—which yielded additional insights. Check out the complete analysis for yourself.
So, is social media playing a role in the election or just providing us with an indication of results to come? Despite my Facebook and Twitter feeds spewing countless election posts—often without fact-checking—the impact of social media on the election is yet to be determined. If nothing else, social media offers us instant results and reactions to debates and scandals. Take for instance the Twitter sentiment for 11 swing states on the morning after the last presidential debate. Analysis by the Applied Policy Research Institute at Wright State University shows that sentiment on Twitter remained close, but there were clear moments in the debate that led to tweetstorms on behalf of both candidates.
Looking at trending hashtags for the last 7 days, we can see support for Clinton and Trump. As you can see FBI was trending, though in a small way compared to media coverage.
This campaign season has been more tumultuous than most, no doubt about it. The evidence on which states are blue and which are red is pretty clear. Who is winning in those Purple states and how is the coverage breaking out for the swing states:
Media Coverage 30 days
Media Coverage7 days
Projected margin of victory - fivethirtyeight.com, 11/4
Clinton + .1
A number of states are swinging harder than the Cubs when they were faced with a 3-1 deficit in the World Series. At least we know how that turned out. (Go, Cubs!) But with media coverage, social media and polling projections all being relatively tight, election night promises to be a real nail-biter too. Who will pull off the big win? Let’s just hope it doesn’t go into extra innings.