Hit or Miss? Tracking Presidential Candidate Website Traffic

Over the last few decades, the internet has evolved into a treasure trove of information, research, and data. Most of us turn to the web as an all-knowing resource whenever we have questions to be asked or itches to be scratched.

As we’ve discussed before, social media users have a notable influence in the way people vote. Not only is it easier to share information via social networks, but these collective communities tend to vote similarly. (See related Mashable story)

But how else can the internet predict where voters might cast their ballot? We turn to the first place any campaign-information-craving citizen would go: the official website of each presidential candidate.

Experian‘s Hitwise division has been partnered with iCharts since June to showcase the ebb and flow of traffic based on pivotal campaign events and organic inquiries of citizens seeking information. It’s easy to understand why the numbers rise steadily as we get closer to elections, but there are a number of areas where spikes in website clicks call our attention to the events circling that date.

For example, in the last 90 days the biggest increase in online traffic to Obama’s website happened between September 6 and 7; the same day that the Democratic National Convention was held and the subsequent day when media was abuzz with stats and facts from his speech. The same spike occured for Romney on the day he gave his GOP Convention Speech. Yet no matter how large the scale of any Republican event or speech, the hits on Romney’s website have not come close to the President’s.

So, what does this data mean for Election Day results? Truth is, it could be telling of many things:

  • People simply want to know more about each candidate’s policies and they’re reading up on campaign updates.
  • The demographics of online behavior are beginning to shape offline behavior. Undeniably search and social traffic is driven by key age groups and backgrounds.
  • Or, new voter registration, volunteering or donating to either campaign are on the rise.

But the biggest mystery - do these numbers reflect who will receive more votes on November 6?

Let us know what lingering questions you have about the campaigns and keep an eye out on our Live! Elections 2012 ChartChannel to see what topics are trending across the nation.

Elections Fever: Swing State Trends, Voter Turnout and Controversy

T-minus 21 days to Elections Day, November 6!
Will you vote? How will you vote?

Election fever is reaching a new pitch and, like many others, iCharts continues to track milestones and highlights by-the-numbers to document the course of this year’s political story. A few themes have become stand-outs as the world debates what will define results on November 6. Below are a few we’ve been tracking at iCharts.

Swing States Twitter Trends

There are seven states we’re capturing Twitter mentions for on a weekly basis with a little help from Peoplebrowsr’s API. Curious what last week looked like? Check out trends, by state, based on Twitter candidate mentions for week ending October 13.

Colorado
Florida
Iowa
New Hampshire
Nevada
Ohio 
Virginia

Voter Turnout 

For as much buzz as the Presidential Elections get every four years, only 64.1% turned out to the polls in 2008. It was seen at the biggest turnout since 1908, with a higher-than-norm appearance from the Democratic party and lag amongst Republicans.

In 2008, the boost for the Democratic party came largely from higher-than-average turnout rates amongst the Hispanic and African-American community. In 2012, it remains to be seen if this trend will carry forward as new voter registrations for these demographics and young people have been going down in recent years.

Controversial Topics

Over coming weeks you’ll continue to see iCharts publish data points about opinions on government control (see below chart), foreign policy, job creation and healthcare.

What topics are you most focused on to make your choice on November 6? We’d love to hear from you to spark new charting projects through November.

Changing Minds May Change the Tides

Last Wednesday’s presidential debate was surprising not for all that was said, but in the way that the hour and a half long segment changed the way that the country saw each candidate. Social media was buzzing about both Obama and Romney’s performances, almost even more than the actual topics either was covering.

Pew Research Center compared the public’s perceptions for each candidate the three days following the October 4th debate with information collected weeks before - and the results were telling.

The data shows a significant difference in public opinion between the two time periods.

The first we can see is the rising belief that Romney is a strong leader, tying him with Obama at 44%; whereas before, the Democratic party had a noticeable lead at 51%.

Another standout comparison is Obama’s continuing lead over Romney on being able to connect well with ordinary Americans. However, this number is down 7% since Romney’s performance at the debate, clearly indicating how Americans’ perspectives changed about the Republican candidate.

It seems as though some may have lost confidence in their contender, while others found theirs in the opposing side. Could this have changed after last night’s vice presidential debates? Will any of these figures have enough impact to sway the vote come Election Day?

Only 27 days until these questions and more are answered. Be sure to keep an eye on our Live! Elections 2012 page for weekly updated charts, keeping you current on hot topics circling around this year’s presidential race.

Want to learn more about iCharts? Sign-up for our next monthly live! demo webinar on October 17th.

Gendered Politics - Who’s Talking About Who?

Countless outlets - both in and out of media - are being used today to advertise and promote this year’s presidential candidates, one of the most influential being social networking. Trending likes, reposts, and retweets all weigh in on the digital discussion that’s changing the way our country does politics.

With the help of our partner sites, we’ve been tracking Twitter mentions and other trending elections-related news to find out how people are using social media to predict the turnout of this year’s presidential elections. One of the most interesting: How often males and females tweet about each candidate.

Chart: Daily Presidential Candidate Mentions by Gender on TwitterDescription: Male or Female? Who’s Dominating the Conversation by Candidate on Twitter?Tags: icharts, peoplebrowsr, kred, twitter, data, visualization, gender mentions, presidential candidates, elections, 2012, infographicAuthor: charts powered by iCharts

So far, it seems as though men are more likely to tweet about either candidate. PeopleBrowsr collected data that showed men posting more than 70,000 tweets above that which women were. Of both men and women, the name Romney was used more often than Obama by 255,199 to 217,771: a difference of 37,428 tweets.

What does this data say about the election? Are women more reluctant to discuss these candidates or less politically-inclined? And is Romney’s online popularity going to skyrocket him above the Obama campaign? Not necessarily.

The most important thing to remember about this data is that these are mentions. We can’t tell which of these tweets are positive or negative, so we can’t be sure who’s actually being favored in the online social world - quite yet, that is.

As for the delegation among genders, we know the female population are commanding contributors to social media sites. We’d simply like to hear more of what they have to say about politics.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Live! Elections 2012 charts for info on swing states and more, updating weekly so you can keep track of who’s talking about who. iCharts has teamed up with PeopleBrowsr and Experian to keep our readers up-to-date with elections news and to better help you answer the question: Who will come out on top this November?

Charting Our Way Through the Olympics and Elections 2012

July 2012 brings us barbeques, ballgames and summer movies. But what are the most anticipated, historical events to chart? The Olympics and Elections 2012.

The Olympics: Told Like Never Before.
Ever follow the Olympics via charts? We certainly haven’t. But this year, you will. Stay tuned for great coverage spotlighting the “Road to the Olympics”, along with “Inside the Olympics” stats and news coverage throughout the event. Subscribe to London Olympics 2012 charts.

 


Elections 2012
Every four years, the journey to the White House calls on Amerians to weigh their political views. Healthcare, immigration, marriage rights, and job security are just one of many topics already playing a large role in guiding American sentiment. Watch for additional coverage - via charts - over coming months from data sources such as Reuters, Politico, Gallup and more. Subscribe to Elections 2012 charts.

Want to become a data partner to share your stories? Please contact us.