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Every tweet counts? How sentiment analysis of social media can improve our knowledge of citizensí policy preferences. An application to Italy and France
Stefano Iacus - University of Milan
Conference Paper
May 10, 2013

The growing usage of social media by a wider audience of citizens sharply increases the possibility of investigating the web as a device to explore and track political preferences. In the present paper we apply a method recently proposed by other social scientists to three different scenarios, by analyzing on one side the online popularity of Italian political leaders throughout 2011, and on the other the voting intention of French Internet users in both the 2012 presidential ballot and the subsequent legislative election. While Internet users are not necessarily representative of the whole population of a country’s citizens, our analysis shows a remarkable ability for social media to forecast electoral results, as well as a noteworthy correlation between social media and the results of traditional mass surveys. We also illustrate that the predictive ability of social media analysis strengthens as the number of citizens expressing their opinion online increases, provided that the citizens act consistently on these opinions.
Full paper and presentation here

 
 
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