Tactics and Tallies: A Study of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign Using Twitter 'Likes'
We propose a framework to measure, evaluate, and rank campaign effectiveness in the ongoing 2016 U.S. presidential election. Using Twitter data collected from Sept. 2015 to Jan. 2016, we first uncover the tweeting tactics of the candidates and second, using negative binomial regression and exploiting the variations in `likes,' we evaluate the effectiveness of these tactics. Thirdly, we rank the candidates' campaign tactics by calculating the conditional expectation of their generated 'likes.' We show that while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio put much weight on President Obama, this tactic is not being well received by their supporters. We demonstrate that Hillary Clinton's tactic of linking herself to President Obama resonates well with her supporters but the same is not true for Bernie Sanders. In addition, we show that Donald Trump is a major topic for all the other candidates and that the women issue is equally emphasized in Sanders' campaign as in Clinton's. Finally, we suggest two ways that politicians can use the feedback mechanism in social media to improve their campaign: (1) use feedback from social media to improve campaign tactics within social media; (2) prototype policies and test the public response from the social media.