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Utilizing social media for election data

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:08 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With election day just three weeks away, polling analysts are using social media to spot voting trends.

Founder of AdVictory Adam Meldrum figured out a method which collects words, verbiage and phrases which shows people’s voting tendencies.

“This is really taking all of the information that exists out there and categorizing it into those types of categories based on what people proactively say and how they voice their own opinions and how they chat amongst friends and family members and colleagues online,” explained Meldrum.

According to Meldrum, one of the most overlooked topics by incumbents and their challengers is the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s something people talk about a lot online, even though it’s not in the news. I think if you do hit a moment in the news cycle between now and election day when that comes up as a major issue, that will really impact the conversation in support for one way or the other,” Meldrum said.

Meldrum stated one of the most interesting races in the country is right here in Michigan.

“One of the things we look at a lot in this data is sentiment and the attitude people have about candidates and issues,” said Meldrum. “One thing you see with John James in the Senate race in Michigan is he runs about a 10 point sentiment advantage to Gary Peters. That doesn’t mean he’s winning by 10 points, it means it’s something that happens when a challenger is able to give an incumbent a run for their money.”

As the races continue, Meldrum said the numbers continue to shift both ways making it a tight race, not just for James and Peters, but for politics in general.

“It’s not meant to replace polling. They’re meant to work together. The news cycle moves so fast these days, and people’s opinions and issues are available out there online to understand a little bit better," Meldrum said. “So, figuring out that data and making it complimentary to polling is something we’ve found fun and exciting and a new way to look at races.”

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