Twitter Political Index

North Star Opinion Research is pleased to join with Twitter, the Mellman Group, and Topsy in announcing the Twitter Political Index, or “Twindex.” Using Twitter’s “firehose” of data, Topsy has constructed an algorithm that places mentions of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama into context with the total conversation on Twitter. The Twindex is similar to a percentile score: a score of 39 for one of the candidates would mean that mentions for the candidate on that day were more positive than 39 percent of all tweets that day; a score of 60 would mean the candidate’s mentions were more positive than 60 percent of all tweets that day.

It is important to note that the Twindex isn’t a poll. Twitter’s blog puts it this way:

Just as new technologies like radar and satellite joined the thermometer and barometer to give forecasters a more complete picture of the weather, so too can the Index join traditional methods like surveys and focus groups to tell a fuller story of political forecasts. It lends new insight into the feelings of the electorate, but is not intended to replace traditional polling — rather, it reinforces it.

Two good media summaries of the Twindex can be found on National Journal and Huffington Post.