The 2012 Republican candidates will take the stage next Tuesday, Oct. 11 for the Washington Post/Bloomberg debate in which they will compete to see which one has the better plan to save the struggling U.S. economy.

Before the moderators get their chance to grill the candidates on taxes, jobs, the deficit, we took stock of the buzz from the Twitterverse about each candidate on those issues.

Globalpoint measured 12,000 tweets (1,500 per candidate) sent between Monday and Tuesday afternoon that mention each candidate participating in the debate to see how concerned the Twitterverse is with their stances on “taxes” and “jobs.”

Only a small number of the tweets about the candidates - 6 percent - mentioned anything about either issue. Of the 718 that did, 432 were about jobs and 286 were about taxes.

Mitt Romney, who frequently touts his experience in the private sector on the campaign trail, had the highest percentage of tweets with those words.

Of the 114 tweets about him that reference “jobs,” 40 percent contained language that indicated they have an unfavorable view of Romney’s record or statements on jobs (known as “negative sentiment.”). Only 12 percent contained favorable language surrounding Romney’s record on jobs (dubbed “positive sentiment”), the lowest percentage of positives for any candidate.

Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) had the fewest mentions of jobs or taxes in their tweets with 38 and 39, respectively.

Overall, sentiment in tweets toward each of the candidates remains largely neutral. Each of them had more neutral tweets than negative and positive ones combined.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was under heavy media scrutiny at the time the tweets were measured since The Washington Post reported on a hunting camp he owned contained a racial slur in its name. In a search of all 1,500 tweets, Perry had the highest percentage of negative sentiment in tweets (10 percent), but also the highest positive percentage (23 percent).

Tweeters felt the least strongly toward Romney of all the candidates - 70 percent of the tweets about him contained neither negative nor positive words.

(Globalpoint Research)

We’ll have more in-depth analysis of sentiment toward the candidates and their responses to questions on the economy, taxes, jobs and the deficit next Wednesday after the debate.

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


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