The reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys. This is the conclusion of a year-long Pew Research Center study that compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets in response to eight major news events, including the outcome of the presidential election, the first presidential debate and major speeches by Barack Obama.
In some instances, the Twitter reaction was more pro-Democratic or liberal than the balance of public opinion. For instance, when a federal court ruled last February that a California law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional – a case that is now coming before the Supreme Court – the reaction on Twitter was quite positive. Twitter conversations about the ruling were much more positive than negative (46% vs. 8%). But public opinion, as measured in a national poll, ran the other direction: Of those who had heard about the ruling, just 33% were very happy or pleased with it, while 44% were disappointed or angry. Read the rest at Pew Research.