The Republican presidential debate this week brought economic issues to the forefront for the finally-settled GOP presidential field.

Opinions are divided on who among the 2012 contenders is best equipped to fix the economy, according to a Washington Post/Bloomberg poll released Monday. Twenty-two percent of the Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who responded said former Massachsetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be the best candidate to handle the economy, followed by former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain.

Cain and Romney, plus Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were also among the top-tier of candidates mentioned on Twitter in tweets related to the economy before and during the debate.

Globalpoint Research analyzed tweets between 10 a.m. Monday morning (the day before the debate) until 11 p.m. Tuesday, an hour after the debate ended, focusing on terms related to the economy and the debate itself to see which candidate had the most Twitter buzz and how much of it was favorable. Read about Globalpoint’s methodology.

We asked PostPolitic’s Twitter followers to share some of their most memorable lines from the debate as it was happening, and Globalpoint showed us which of our tweeps’ favorite lines and other big applause and laugh lines reverberated most in the Twitterverse.

Both of the results are after the jump.

I was po’ before I was poor. -- Herman Cain

1,156 mentions

And if you want to put people in jail... you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. -- Newt Gingrich

595 mentions

When you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the details. -- Michele Bachmann

322 mentions

Pennsylvania is not the gas capital of the country. Washington, D.C., is the gas capital of the country. -- Jon Huntsman

112 mentions

I wouldn’t keep Ben Bernanke in office.” -- Mitt Romney

21 mentions

Sentiment counts related to economy, taxes, jobs, etc. collected between 10 a.m. EST on Oct. 10 and 11 p.m. EST on Oct. 11.

Perry delivered perhaps his most memorable line of the night after the debate. NBC News’s Carrie Dann tweeted the line that inspired the:#Perryhistory hashtag: “Reason we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown.” That statement was mentioned 806 times in tweets, according to Globalpoint.

Leading up to and during the debate, former businessman Herman Cain was mentioned in by far the most tweets containing economic references (7,946 times). That is not really surprising given the frequency with which his 9-9-9 tax plan was referenced by Cain and the rest of the contenders during the debate.

At one point, moderator Charlie Rose warned the full panel that “if you keep mentioning ‘9-9-9’ and Herman Cain, I’m going to have to go back to him every other question.”

Next in tweet mentions before and during the debate was Paul (5,041 mentions), Romney (3,585 mentions) and Perry (3,277 mentions).

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had the fewest mentions in the surveyed tweets (790); Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) had 1,590, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) were mentioned 1,506 and 1,120 times respectively.

Romney had the highest percentage of mentions with positive language toward him (16.6 percent), followed by Huntsman (14.4 percent). Cain had the highest percentage of tweets containing negative words or language (22.4 percent).


The company that helped the Post compile this data, Globalpoint, and its CEO, Michael Urban, explains the methodology by which tweets were surveyed and how language about a candidate is determined to be either positive or negative “sentiment:”

Our methodology includes a sophisticated understanding of language and political comments in particular. In this case, we analyzed each tweet individually. If it’s a positive tweet we assign it a grade of “+1”. If the comment doesn’t express sentiment it receives a grade of “0” and if it’s negative it gets a “-1”. Then, we recognize the difference in the total positive comments vs. the total negative comments to get the net sentiment score.

Here’s Urban’s explanation of the methodology used to derive the tweet samples:

Globalpoint only analyzed tweets that included a mention of a candidate’s full name, last name and/or the candidate’s Twitter handle, i.e. @MittRomney and a reference to a common economic issue. The economic issues or terms Globalpoint used to qualify their search included the following: bank, debt, economic, economy, employment, fed, federal reserve, fund, jobs, laid-off, lost employees, money, mortgage, Nasdaq, OccupyWallStreet, pay, recession, regulation, reinvestment, salary, shareholder, tax, unemployment, and wall street. In addition, Globalpoint also monitored the debate’s official Twitter hashtag, #econdebate. Globalpoint’s method automatically checks for every variation of the economic terms shown above.

Want to see which words were trending at the roundtable where the candidates were seated during the debate? The Fix has a word cloud for you, or you can sort the entire transcript by candidate or by issue using this tool.

Follow @MentionMachine to track the conversation around the 2012 presidential candidates and social media’s impact on the election.


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