News of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s (@MittRomney) selection of Paul Ryan (@PaulRyanVP) as his running mate spread quickly on Twitter. The conversation peaked at 3,749 Tweets per minute at 9:29 am EDT this morning as Ryan took the stage at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia:
Speculation about Ryan’s selection began building shortly after 11 pm EDT with word from Romney’s Communications Director (@GGitcho) that an announcement would be coming today, with NBC’s Chuck Todd (@ChuckTodd) confirming the choice shortly after midnight.
Now that Ryan is on the Romney ticket, his momentum on Twitter is already starting to build. His new @PaulRyanVP account gained about 60,000 followers in the first eight hours following its official launch, and his congressional office account (@RepPaulRyan) is approaching 175,000.
We’ve also been able to use the Twitter Political Index to measure conversation around the rumored Vice Presidential candidates, which showed mounting support for Ryan relative to other presumed front-runners over several months. With an average Twindex of 33 for the week of April 29, Ryan trailed other rumored candidates, including @MarcoRubio, @RobPortman, and @TimPawlenty. By this week, Ryan was leading the others with an average Twindex of 63.
The Twitter Political Index is a measurement of Twitter users’ attitudes about the candidates, relative to other topics discussed on Twitter. Scores below 50 indicate a more negative attitude is reflected in Tweets about the candidate, while scores above 50 indicate the average Tweet about the candidate is among the more positive on Twitter.
Both Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) tend to perform better in the Index than the candidates at the top of the ticket. But while President Obama (@BarackObama) has generally scored more positively than Governor Romney over the past six weeks, Ryan has most recently generated more positive sentiment than Biden.
Ryan’s weekly average Twindex has ranged between 32 and 67 since April 29, with an average just below the neutral point. This range put him right in the middle of the pack among other rumored candidates, and a little bit behind the Vice President, who has ranged between 41 and 77 in the weekly counts.
The Twitter Political Index also reflected positive shifts for both Obama and Romney following the Ryan announcement. Official Twindex scores are updated each evening at election.twitter.com and from the @gov Twitter account.
With the volume of Tweets every two days today exceeding all those ever sent prior to the 2008 election, Twitter now provides unique insights into conversations previously limited to coffee shops, water coolers and dinner tables across America. Be sure to follow @gov for additional insights and real-time data as the campaign continues.
Posted by Adam Sharp, Head of Government, News and Social Innovation (@AdamS)