Table - Political Events For Which Sentiment On Twitter Was Similar To Polls

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.

Of the eight events that the Pew Research Center tracked since the beginning of last year, there were two – Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate and the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2010 Affordable Care Act – when the reaction on Twitter paralleled public opinion.

When Mitt Romney tapped Ryan as his running mate, it received a more negative than positive reaction both from the general public and in the conversation on Twitter. And when the Supreme Court handed down its ruling upholding the health care law in June 2012, public reaction was split: A national survey found 36% approving and 40% disapproving of the Court’s decision. The reaction on Twitter was about the same: Among those offering a viewpoint, roughly half were positive comments and half were negative. Read the rest at Pew Research.