Congratulations President-elect Obama

November 9th, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Congratulations to President-elect Obama on his historic win, and kudos to Senator McCain for a campaign fought energetically. Poetically, the buzz share meter blew its gasket early Tuesday morning!

WonkoSteve and I want to thank all of you who have been tracking Wonkosphere over the last 16 months. We haven’t yet decided what we’ll do with it now, but in the mean time the buzz lists are still active and updating daily. I’ll continue to post here to WonkoBlog about the role of social media in politics.

Obama Mud Meter Soars; McCain still holds record

November 3rd, 2008

by WonkoSteve

After staying well below John McCain on the Mud Meter for nearly the whole contest, Barack Obama’s negative language with respect to McCain spiked up the day before Halloween and has been moving upward into record terroritory (for him) ever since.   Is this an indication of worry on the part of Team Obama, or are they just trying to seal the deal, keeping their powder dry ’till the endgame?  I guess we find out tomorrow.

Meanwhile, unless something changes by tomorrow, McCain will hold on to his ignoble record for the highest Mud Meter score.  These scores are a one-week moving average, and the last week of July was the muddiest week for McCain, with a high score of  4.92 on August 1, against a score of 4.82 today for Obama.

For comparison, in 2004 the highest value for Kerry came on November 1 at 4.38.  For Bush the high was 4.39 on September 30.  So both 2008 candidates are speaking more ill of their opponents than either candidate did in 2004.

Obama goes muddy on McCain; ahead in buzz 32 points

November 3rd, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Here we are–the Big Day is almost upon us! This has been the most interesting presidential race I have experienced in my lifetime (I am 47), and as an “analyst” intensely following the race, it has been an experience I will never forget. From wondering if/when Fred Thompson was going to break out to the breakout we saw McCain get in late December to Obama forging ahead of Clinton in buzz share right before his winning streak started, there are a lot of WonkoMemories to process. And it has been fascinating to see how social media has evolved and matured. Here are some thoughts for Monday 11/3/08.

1. Obama leads McCain in Wonkosphere buzz share 66-34 over the last 24 hours. This spread has remained the same over the past week so the blogosphere is not sending any message that polls are inaccurate.

2. For the first time in the entire campaign, Obama’s Mud Meter has moved ahead of McCain’s. Obama now is using twice as much negative language when talking about McCain as McCain is when talking about Obama. Throughout most of the campaign, McCain was slightly but consistently more negative about Obama.

 3. Bloggers are using historically negative language overall. I think this indicates where the campaigns are right now.

4. How long are we going to go tomorrow night until the winner is called? Well, if McCain pulls off a miracle, we’ll be up all night. Wouldn’t it make sense for this campaign to come down to Hawaii and Alaska? I’d give this a 2% chance. If there’s an Obama landslide, the race could be called around 10PM EST, when Iowa’s polls close. Again, there is some poetic justice here with McCain getting closed out by Iowa. I’d give this a 28% chance. My 70% prediction gives Obama 320-345 electoral votes, in which case Obama would have to wait for California polls to close at 11PM EST.

ASU experts: Blog analysis predicts Presidential winner

October 31st, 2008

The important new role of blogs in analyzing and predicting election results is clear, according to two experts whose Web site has been monitored by many presidential candidates’ campaigns this year. They say changes in the amount of blog coverage given to a candidate have been a major indicator of whether votes were swinging toward that candidate and who would ultimately win. They are already predicting a winner based on their observations.

“Obama currently has a 30- to 40-percent higher buzz share than McCain, meaning that he is being written about much more in the blogs that our site monitors,” says Kevin Dooley, an internationally recognized expert who teaches at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU). “I think this is predictive of an Obama win because two-thirds of those blogs are conservative. It means conservative bloggers are focused on Obama and not promoting McCain. At the same time, liberal bloggers are still covering Obama, demonstrating a much stronger base support for him, which will probably translate into a higher voter turnout.”

Dooley and Professor Steve Corman of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences created Wonkosphere.com. The Web site analyzes more than 1,500 liberal, conservative and independent blogs to measure how much candidates are being blogged about and whether the tone is positive or negative. Dooley and Corman originally conceived the site as a way to demonstrate text-scanning technology that they developed with funding from ASU and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Dooley says they have strong indications that about two-thirds of the presidential candidates’ campaigns were monitoring Wonkosphere during election season, including the Clinton, McCain, Romney, Biden and Huckabee campaigns. They have noticed several trends through the site.

“For example, some of the campaigns would use blogs and other social media to test out certain policies and framing of those messages,” says Corman. “By listening to the blogs that supported them and other, larger blogs, candidates could better understand how the general public would react to phrases and ideas. Obama, Edwards, Huckabee and Romney’s campaigns seemed especially sensitive to the buzz.”

Also, Dooley noted that changes in the polling numbers corresponded to activity in blogs.

“We would see a big increase in buzz share about a candidate, and then two to three weeks later, that candidate would get a bump in the national polls,” says Dooley. “In McCain’s case, conservative blogs shifted toward him in late December last year, a few weeks before he rose in the polls. However, he hasn’t been the focus of these bloggers since then. In fact, his name isn’t even mentioned on the home page of the Republican National Committee’s Web site right now, except in a drop-down menu. This indicates trouble.”

They also noticed an important emerging media trend.

“Blogs often pick up mainstream media stories and keep them going in the public eye, but now mainstream journalists are also deciding what to pick up from the bloggers,” Corman says. “The blogs can be used to figure out whether a story has legs. If a story hangs around for about a week in the blogs, then it will likely show up in the mainstream media.”

Dooley adds that sometimes bloggers even have a jump on the mainstream press on major stories. He says, “For example, on the day Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate, five or six bloggers were running stories about a plane that flew in from a city in Alaska. They tracked down who the plane belonged to and linked the story to a representative with the Republican National Committee and then Palin… all five to seven hours before the mainstream media started to think it was Palin.”

Corman adds another example of “Joe the Plumber,” a man who got attention during the final presidential debate by asking the candidates to explain their small business policies and saying he eventually wants to buy the plumbing business where he works.

“Within minutes, bloggers were combing public databases, learning that he didn’t have a plumber’s license or a contractor’s license. It took the mainstream media days to catch up,” Corman says.

In the final analysis, Dooley also has a theory about one reason McCain is having such a tough time in this last stretch of the election season. “McCain was never really vetted by the bloggers during primary season. Candidates need to go through that kind of struggle within the party before trying to get independent and other voters. Obama got vetted by liberal bloggers during the primaries, and that has allowed for big fundraising and moving forward now.”

If buzz share continues to be as accurate as it was during primary season, that means Obama will be moving forward into the White House.

Debbie Freeman, Debbie.Freeman@asu.edu

              (480) 965-9271       

Communications Manager, W. P. Carey School of Business

Obama Wonkosphere lead up to 45%

October 28th, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Barack Obama has spread his lead over John McCain in Wonkosphere buzz share to 72-27, or a 45 percent point lead. It’s quite interesting to peruse through the conservative “Buzz” column, remembering that those twenty posts are those which are most “representative” from the universe of conservative blog posts posted over the last 24 hours. Not one title contains the word “McCain”:

Web Reconnaissance for 10/27/2008, Drudge’s Current Headline is Wrong, Obama Birth Certificate Sealed By Governor, California May Go Republican Wealth Redistribution, Video: Obama for Beginners, 84% Don’t Have A Clue?, That Business Health Tax? Obama ‘Decided Not to Decide’.., protein wisdom, Finally–An Obama Wright ad, More Obama on “Wealth Redistribution”, Sparks from the Anvil, Obama on “Redistributive Change”, DEMAND THE LA TIMES RELEASE THE OBAMA VIDEO, Surprise: CBS Spikes Audio of Obama’s “Redistribution of …, Polls Wrong! Obama Losing!, Megyn Kelly Almost Makes Obama Spokesman Cry Over Wealth …, Say Anything, Why Words Matter, L.A. Times Sits On Explosive Obama Tape, More Common Sense On The Supposed Obama “Bombshell” Video, Obama On Capitalism & The Supreme Court.

Having so closely studied what buzz share means during this election cycle, I can say that this is really bad news for McCain. As I have said many times before, in the blogosphere, the only thing worse than being talked about negatively is not being talked about at all. My theory, which I will develop in subsequent posts, is that in this modern day (perhaps always) a candidate needs to be thoroughly vetted by their base before they can stand a chance in the general election. This brings the comfort level and money and ground game that drives everything else. In March, conservative bloggers questioned whether McCain would be accepted by the conservative base. His buzz share numbers since then have seemed to answer “no”, and therein lies the heart of his campaign woes, perhaps more so than any tactical errors which have been made.

Obama opens up 35% lead in Wonkosphere buzz share

October 20th, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Obama opened up his largest lead of the election season in Wonkosphere buzz, leading John McCain by 35 points, 67-32. Most of the buzz in both conservative and liberal spheres was about the Colin Powell endorsement. Also, take a look at the MudMeter today–Obama has quit talking about McCain too.

All about Obama as he opens up a 24% lead in Wonkosphere buzz share

October 19th, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Conservative and liberal bloggers alike are abandoning discussion about John McCain as his Wonkosphere buzz share is down to 38%. Obama’s lead over McCain is now 24 points, 62-38. The blogosphere, for better or worse, continues to make this a Yes/No vote on Obama.

Final debate has no impact on Wonkosphere buzz share, Obama up by 15 points

October 17th, 2008

by WonkoKevin
The third and final presidential debate had no significant impact on Wonkosphere buzz share. Obama’s lead over McCain has held steady over the past 10+ days, and if the debate were to have had any impact on public polls (no visible effect yet either), I would have expected a bump for McCain in the blogs. Obama has 57% buzz share the 24 hours post debate while McCain is at 42%. Bob Barr and Ralph Nader continue to be below 1%.

Obama buzz share lead at 60% and steady

October 14th, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Barack Obama’s buzz share in Wonkosphere has remained at 60 percent or just below for 10 straight days now, with John McCain holding at 40%. Neither Ralph Nader nor Bob Barr have been able to break even 0.5% in that same time period. Prognosis: No indicators in the blogosphere that the dynamics of the race have changed. However I do think that because the Obama buzz share lead has hardened, it will be a good indicator on Thursday and Friday of the Wednesday debate performance.

Obama maintains Wonkosphere buzz share lead post second debate

October 8th, 2008

by WonkoKevin

Barack Obama maintains a buzz share lead in Wonkosphere, topping John McCain 60 to 40 percent yesterday and 55 to 45 over the last 24 hours. The second debate did not change Obama’s buzz share lead, which has held at 60 percent for 4 days now. The tone of the discourse in the blogosphere has been harsh–both conservative and liberal bloggers are using rather negative language. McCain continues to throw more “mud”, according to the MudMeter(tm), although Obama has stepped up mentions of McCain significantly in the last 3 weeks.