What does social media tell us about the midterm races? 

The 2018 Political Atlas brings us a wealth of social media data on our current midterm elections. The atlas is a collaboration between the UVA Sabato Center for Politic and Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm. In addition to the Sabato Crystal Ball candidate ratings, this new atlas adds components of social media data. Ipsos plans to conduct about 10,000 interviews a week, plus 20 state polls over the course of the next few months. Charting the day-by-day pulse of public opinion through social media is an interesting, useful addition.

Ipsos reports the main NJ issues on social media (statewide): President Trump: 41%; Health Care: 16%; Economy: 10%; Immigration: 8%; Foreign Policy: 6%; Environment: 5%; Taxes: 5%; Government: 4%; Abortion: 3%; Terrorism: 2%. What seems interesting in this data is that as much as Democrats need to set forth their positive agenda, they also have to address the elephant in the room.

The past congressional and presidential elections and Trump approval for each district provide context and are conveniently listed in this single site collection of information. There frequently are differences  between the ratings of Ipsos polling, UVA Crystal Ball and particularly social media. The latter may reflect lack of attention to social media by a candidate, a dislike toward a candidate even though voters are likely to support the candidate, an underdog receiving strong media attention or other factors. 

MEDIA TRENDS FOR EACH DISTRICT 

  • Favorability: Measures total positive discussion about a candidate as a share of discussion about all candidates in the race time frame.
  • Net Sentiment: Measures change in positive vs. negative discussion for an individual candidate using a 7-day change: Up: ▲ or Down: ▼  or No change: —.
  • Bots: Represents the total volume of posts on the topic+candidarte created by suspected bot accounts using a 7-day change:  Up: ▲ or Down: ▼ or No change: —.
  • Influencers: Represents the total volume on topic+candidate created by political, social, or media personalities using a 7-day change:  Up: ▲ or Down: ▼ or No change: —.
  • Velocity: Represents the number of posts on the topic per hour in the current day, using a 7-day change: Up ▲ or Down ▼ or No change: —.

Below is information about six key congressional Districts and our Senate race.  (I) indicates incumbent. You can find the same data on our other races and updated info on the key races here. Note: the media data can change frequently.

HOUSE RACES 

CD 02: Open seat. Jeff Van Drew (D) vs. Seth Grossman (R). Ipsos polling: Likely D; Crystal Ball: Likely D; Social media: Likely R. Trump approval: 52%. Past elections: Congressional: 2012:  R +17, 2014:  R +24, and 2016: R +22. Presidential: 2008:  D +8; 2012: D+8; 2016: R+5.

 Van Drew                    Grossman

  • Favorability:  23% —      77% —
  • Net sentiment: 24% —     39% —
  • Bots: 5% —      6% —
  • Influencers: 32% —      21% —
  • Velocity.   22 —       33 —

CD 03: Tom MacArthur (R) (I) vs. Andrew Kim (D). Ipsos polling: Lean R; Crystal Ball: Tossup; Social media: Lean R. Trump approval: 50%. Past elections: Congressional: 2012: R+9; 2014: R+10; 2016: R+20. Presidential: 2008 D+3; 2012: D+5; 2016: R+6.

Kim                     MacArthur

  • Favorability: 39% —     61% —
  • Net sentiment: 42% ▼     43% ▼
  • Bots: 0% —     0% —
  • Influencers: 15% ▼     12% ▼
  • Velocity: 87 ▲     182 ▲

CD 04: Chris Smith (R) (I) vs. Josh Welle (D). Ipsos polling: Likely R; Crystal Ball: Safe R; Social media: Tossup. Trump approval: 51%. Past elections: Congressional: 2012: R+28; 2014: R+37; and 2016: R+30. Presidential: 2008: R+8; 2012: R+10; and 2016: R+15.

Welle                       Smith

  • Favorability:  56% —      44% —
  • Net sentiment: 63%.    ▼ 45% —
  • Bots: 03% ▼     02% ▲
  • Influencers: 24% ▼     13% ▼
  • Velocity: 34 ▲    45 ▲

CD 05: Josh Gottheimer (D) (I) vs. John McCann (R). Ipsos polling: Lean D; Crystall Ball: Likely D; Social media: Tossup. Trump approval: 50%. Past Elections: Congressional: 2012: R+12, 2014: R+12, 2016: D+4. Presidential: 2008: R+2, 2012: R+3, 2016: R+1.

Gottheimer                    McCann

  • Favorability: 48% —     53% —
  • Net sentiment: 39% ▼   82% ▼
  • Bots:   0% —     12% ▼
  • Influencers: 22% ▼     18% ▼
  • Velocity:36 ▲.    17 ▲

CD 07: Leonard Lance (R) (I) vs. Tom Malinowski (D). Ipsos polling: Tossup; Crystal Ball: Tossup; Social media :Tossup. Trump approval: 48%. Past elections: Congressional: 2012: R+17, 2014: R+21; 2016: R+11. Presidential: 2008: R+4, 2012: R+6, 2016: D+1.

 Malinowski                       Lance

  • Favorability: 45% ▲    55% ▼
  • Net sentiment: 45% —     34% —
  • Bots: 05% ▼     03%  —
  • Influencers: 15% ▼    16% ▼
  • Velocity: 176 ▲     323 ▲

CD11: Open Seat. Mikie Sherrill (D) vs. Jay Webber (R). Ipsos polling: Lean R; Crystal Ball: Lean D; Social media: Tossup. Trump approval: 47%. Past elections: Congressional: 2012: R+19, 2014: R+25, 2016: R+19. Presidential: 2008: R+5, 2012: R+6, 2016: R+1.

 Sherrill                     Webber

  • Favorability: 56%▲     44% ▼
  • Net Sentiment: 59%     ▲ 57% ▼
  • Bots: 04% —      06% ▼
  • Influencers: 20% ▲      21% ▼
  • Velocity: 206 ▲      105 ▲

U.S. SENATE

Bob Menendez (D) (I) vs Bob Hugin (R). Ipsos polling: Lean D; Crystal Ball: Likely D; Social media: Tossup. 2012 Trump approval: 46%. 2012 Senate election: D+20.

Menendez.                   Hugin

  • Favorability: 46% ▼.    54% 
  •  Net sentiment: 44% ▼    44% ▼
  • Bots: 04%▲      06% ▼
  • Influencers: 34%▼     46% ▼
  • Velocity: 817 ▲     831 ▲

The 2016 presidential polls proved to be somewhat faulty. The final election vote results were Clinton: 48.2% and Trump: 46.1%. The final Real Clear Politics Average of the most recent polls was Clinton 46.8 and Trump 43.6%. Also, of course, Trump won the election in the Electoral College. 

Adding a social media component to polling data and making it available to the public is useful. More fine tuning of the data methodology will likely be necessary, but the Atlas is welcome start. 

What do you think about this new information source?

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