Twitter 'to measure feelings' about Obama, Romney

::::::Twitter is getting into the candidate
sentiment business, parsing the content of
2 million tweets a week to capture what
the company calls the "nuances of public
opinion" about the presidential hopefuls.
The newly launched Twitter Political Index
offers a daily tally of Twitter
users'"feelings" about President Obama
and his presumptive Republican opponent,
Mitt Romney, the company says.
"Each day, the Index evaluates and weighs
the sentiment of Tweets mentioning
Obama or Romney relative to the more
than 400 million Tweets sent on all other
topics. For example, a score of 73 for a
candidate indicates that Tweets containing
their name or account name are on
average more positive than 73 percent of
all Tweets," Adam Sharp, head of
Government, News and Social Innovation
for Twitter, said in a blog post. "It lends
new insight into the feelings of the
electorate, but is not intended to replace
traditional polling -- rather, it reinforces it."
Twitter expects that the Index will give an
indication of where the candidate polling
numbers are heading, based on its
crowdsourced data-set. Twitter is working
with the social-data analysis company
Topsy and two polling firms, Mellman
Group and North Star Opinion Research, to
calculate the Index sentiment results.
Topsy provides the sentiment analysis
technology, which the company said
delivers 90 percent concordance with
human classification of the sentiments
expressed in tweets.
"By illustrating instances when
unprompted, natural conversation deviates
from responses to specific survey
questions, the Twitter Political Index helps
capture the nuances of public opinion,"
Sharp wrote.
The Index is updated daily at 5 p.m. PT. In
addition, Topsy is posting its analysis on
the results and USA Today will be
highlighting the Index in its publications.

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