Posted at 05:09 PM ET, 01/13/2012

Mitt Romney’s big week in @MentionMachine

Our colleagues at In the Loop say that as much as the media hate to admit it, the GOP primary is over.

It has been a wonderfully wacky GOP primary fight, with endless debates and new front-runners du jour... But the post- New Hampshire reality is setting in...
Republicans and reporters may be in denial but the reality is, barring some miracle, it’s going to be the boring, awkward Mitt [Romney] against the used Barack — no longer the champion of hopey changey.

We think there really (really!) is still plenty of primary action to be had next week in South Carolina and beyond. But the @MentionMachine leaderboard for the past week substantiates the Loopsters' theory.

After his double-digit win in New Hampshire, Romney closed the gap in the volume of Twitter mentions between himself and Ron Paul.

Last Friday’s leaderboard showed Paul with 202,737 more Twitter mentions than Romney. This week, Paul had only 73,324 more mentions than Romney — still a large gap, but by far the closest competition anyone has given Paul for real-time conversation volume since @MentionMachine launched.

The @MentionMachine data also show a huge gulf between Romney and the rest of his Republican rivals in terms of Twitter mentions and media mentions. He was mentioned 90,992 more times than Rick Santorum on Twitter and 3,793 times more than Newt Gingrich in the media.

Globalpoint Research provided us with data about Twitter sentiment toward Mitt Romney from Tuesday, the day of the New Hampshire primary, through Thursday.

They analyzed 148,892 Romney tweets using their methodology (you can read about @MentionMachine’s methodology here) and determined that 70 percent of them were neutral in tone, while 18 percent contained some negative sentiment and 12 percent contained some positive sentiment.

More telling than the sentiment data were the words and phrases conveying the sentiment. Globalpoint ranked the factors cited in the Romney tweets dubbed positive or negative.

The top five types of positive Romney tweets:

1. New endorsements:7,683

2. Saying he is the best choice to be nominee: 2,219

3. Congratulating him on the win in the New Hampshire primary: 1,885

4. Thinking he will be the nominee: 1,397

5. Enjoying his campaign: 1,389

The top five types of negative Romney tweets:

1. Generally against Romney: 3,552

2. Name-calling: 2,529

3. For one or any of Romney’s rivals: 2,203

4. Questioning how Romney takes criticism:1,874

5. Saying Romney is a bad campaigner or speaker: 1,596

Despite the rise in volume of Romney conversation, the sentiment data don’t necessarily paint a promising picture for his campaign. With such a new emphasis on social metrics in campaign coverage, it can be difficult to gauge what data are most meaningful.

The folks at the social media consulting firm and blog 140elect posed a question recently to this effect:

We want our readers’ perspectives. Which do you think is the most important Twitter or other social media indicator of political trends?

Tell us in the comments or tweet @MentionMachine with your thoughts.


By  |  05:09 PM ET, 01/13/2012

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