How long and how low can Todd Akin go
August 29, 2012 | Comments Off
Just a few short days ago, US congressman Todd Akin made a public statement that took him out of relative obscurity and thrust him directly into the very public eye.
A quick glance at the chart showing daily mentions of him in social media clearly illustrate that prior to August 19, no one really cared what he had say. Other than a blip during early August after being declared the winner of the Republican Primary for US Senate, daily mentions of him were near zero. Then, on August 19, daily mentions of him spiked to thousands upon thousands. Something significant happened on this specific day and stayed on the public’s mind for a short time.
So if your question is how long can Todd akin go, the answer is about ten or so days. Because, in the ten days following that event, social media was abuzz with his words. Only in the last couple of days has the buzz decreased to levels similar to early August.
Those of us living under a rock might be wondering what exactly Todd Akin said. Assuming I’m one of those people, someone who has a klout score of 7, I decided to rummage through Conversition data as if I knew nothing at all.
After collecting an abundance of data from all across the internet and scoring it on the thousands of pre-defined, pre-validated variables in our system, I selected three sets of variables. First, I selected out the 20 variables with the largest sample sizes. Second, I selected out the 20 variables with the most negative scores. And third, (come on, you can guess!) I selected out the 20 variables with the most positive scores. I then rummaged through those 60 variables and chose the most specific variables (as opposed to general variables like ‘health care’ or ‘politics’).
And now, left with just 24 variables from an initial set of over 5000, I made a random guess at what Todd Akin said. First of all, the data tells me that Todd Akin is a North American Republican politician. He said something about rape, the resulting pregnancies, and abortion. It was such big news that MSNBC, Fox, and BBC covered it. It was compared to the recent comments that a Chick-Fil-A representative made about homosexuality.
In addition to discovering WHAT Todd said, we can also see how people viewed those opinions. See all those red bars? Those are negative opinions. And the green bars? Those are positive opinions. See how the red bars are much more prevalent than the green bars? Even though I specifically chose both positive and negative variables, the negatives still far outweighed the positives. (Verbatims were scored positive, neutral, and negative, though the chart only shows %negative and %positive.) Clearly, social media had a lot of negative things to say about Todd’s comment.
So how long and how low can Todd Akin go? Well, the first chart tells us it can go about 10 days. And, the second chart tells us it can go as low as 56% negative and 0% positive.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see whether social media forgives and forgets.
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