Watching the third and final Presidential debate made it clear to me that not only do the candidates make the headlines, but so do voters. As millions of voters took to social media to express their preferences, sentiments, intent to vote and “favorite quotes” from the debate, the candidate’s teams were out there spinning as well. But the comments voters latched onto, created the most buzz in both social media and the general media. See our 3rd Presidential Debate Analysis Details 10 2012 by downloading this file in .ppt. Or by downloading the .pdf: 3rd Presidential Debate Analysis Details 10 2012.
In the end, the 3rd debate was almost a repeat of the first two in terms of what was actually said, except in one key area, foreign policy. While social media active voters believed that Obama stands on strong ground when it comes to foreign policy, they also believe that Romney is not only weak in foreign policy, but many said they felt he is “unqualified” to handle it. Obama’s tactic was to make Romney’s ideas on both activities abroad and even the military look like a strategy of the past. From zingers that mentioned spending on horses and bayonets to characterizing Romney’s ideas as being lost in the 20s or the 80s, these comments made social media roar. Romney took the tack of agreeing with Obama on foreign policy, for the most part, and then drove the conversation back to the economy. This chart shows the many zingers that came out during the debate. The ones focusing on old strategies made the top of the list.
Romney’s push back to economic issues won him more positive sentiment in social media than in the last debate. As in the other posts, I will focus on Florida for the blog (the full report shows details on all swing states.) Sentiment for Obama in Florida week over week went down in Florida, but still was 50% positive. While Obama positive sentiment was higher, Romney’s was too, compared to last weeks debate.
When it came to the discussion points, swing voters in Florida who were active in social media were most vocal about Romney not having experience in foreign policy, but there were still a lot of posts that cheered Romney on.
When it came down to intent to vote. Again, Obama had a larger number of social posts from Florida saying they would vote for him, BUT, there were many that also said they would NOT vote for Obama and more than in previous weeks who said they would vote for Romney. Kind of confusing, yes, but it does show a trend that Romney is picking up some speed in Florida.
So do the debates give us enough data to be able to determine who will win the election? The social buzz on the debates tell us it will be REALLY close. They also tell supporters which topics swing voters are most concerned about, providing a roadmap for supporters and the candidates for what they should focus on during these last critical weeks of the Presidential election.
My final thought: GO VOTE!