GW’s Graduate School of Political Management Launches 2020 Tweeterboard

The Tweeterboard offers a weekly glimpse into the social media debate surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

September 19, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University (GSPM) introduced the 2020 Tweeterboard, a weekly snapshot of the social media discourse surrounding the 2020 presidential contenders. The Tweeterboard is released every Thursday and measures how often candidates are mentioned on Twitter, as well as the tone and the reach of the top tweets about them.

Each week, the Tweeterboard displays data for three key categories. First, it records how many Twitter mentions the eight most-mentioned candidates received. Second, it identifies the tweet containing the candidate’s name that garnered the most likes and retweets, as well as the top comment responding to that tweet. Third, it considers whether the most popular mention and its top comment were supportive or detractive of the candidate. The Tweeterboard also takes into account week-to-week trends in order to gain a better understanding of each candidate’s place in the online political debate.

“The answers represent soundings of the American conversation about the 2020 presidential campaign,” said Dr. Michael Cornfield, associate professor and research director at GSPM. “They come mostly from voices other than the candidates themselves: celebrities, activists, and other ‘expressive attentives,’ as we call them.”

The underlying theory driving the Tweeterboard project is that public opinion on the 2020 presidential race cannot simply be measured by traditional polls. The political debate is taking place increasingly on social media, and while polls tally the public’s views and preferences, the Tweeterboard attempts to determine how those views and preferences were molded.

“We're studying these people and what they have to say because Twitter is a new channel where public opinion gets formed --a fountainhead of democratic discourse and power with qualities that contrast sharply with how public opinion surfaces through polls,” added Cornfield. “We're listening, and these tweets amplified into blasts by others are part of a historical soundtrack we're compiling.”

The Tweeterboard is an initiative of GSPM’s Public Echoes of Rhetoric in America (PEORIA) Project and uses data gathered by the social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon. Full weekly Tweeterboard reports are available at gspm.gwu.edu/2020-weekly-tweeterboard.

The Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University is the first and foremost school of applied politics, advocacy, and communications. For more information, visit gspm.gwu.edu. Connect with GSPM on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @GSPMgwu.

CONTACT: Danny Parra – [email protected] – (202) 994-3199

-GW-