Elections 2012: Was There a Convention Bounce?

A column by Mark Trahant on how the presidential elections are affecting social media.

Which convention, the Democrats or the Republicans, will get the biggest bounce?

That’s actually a tough question with lots of answers.

First there’s the national polls. A Gallup poll on Friday afternoon showed a modest improvement for President Obama, leading Romney 48 to 45 percent. But don’t get too excited either way. That’s not enough of a gap to beat the statistical margin of error.

But more to the point: A national poll at this point doesn’t mean much. The only race that matters is the electoral college, the state-by-state picture. No state polls have been conducted since the end of the Democrats' convention. We’ll have to wait days or weeks for new snapshots at that level.

There are other ways to gauge the two weeks’ bounce. One is social media. The Democrats won that. Big. Time.

Obama’s speech broke a record for Tweets. (At least in the world of politics.) Nearly 53,000 tweets a minute were sent during his speech. That compares to about 28,000 for First Lady Michelle Obama and 22,000 for Bill Clinton. Romeny’s best day was 14,000 tweets per minute during his acceptance speech.

Another poll to watch from now until election day: the stock market. As a predictive tool, the stock market is a more reliable indicator than unemployment with a 90 percent accuracy rate. Yesterday was a huge day with the Dow Jones topping 13,000 and a 244 point gain.

One last tool, Google. (Speaking of Google, my writing is slower today because of the new interactive Star Trek game ... thanks, Google.) Google showed significantly more traffic for search terms for Michelle Obama than it did for Ann Romney a week ago.

Google Trends also shows a small, but steady lead for Obama—but closer—over Romney. However last week that number jumped. Call it the online convention bounce.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. He has been writing about Indian Country for more than three decades. His e-mail is: marktrahant@thecedarsgroup.org.