Drew Margolin, a professor of communication at Cornell University who studies human dynamics through social media, has been tracking how the electorate reacts to presidential candidates on Twitter since the beginning of the primaries. Using a new method of real-time analysis, Margolin and his collaborator, Yu-Ru Lin of the University of Pittsburgh, say Bill Clinton’s speech brought more positive sentiment for Hillary on Twitter than on the first night of the Convention.

Margolin says:

“Bill Clinton’s speech had the strongest effect on the Hillary Dumpers, namely, it got them to turn away. In fact, both groups that have unfollowed Clinton (the Dumpers and the Candidate Avoiders) saw substantial reductions in the number of tweets sent and the number of individuals who sent a tweet during Bill’s speech. By contrast, the other groups tweeted at similar rates. The Hillary Dumpers were also much less likely to mention Bill when they did tweet.

“By contrast, the two groups that follow Hillary – the Defectors to Hillary and the Hillary Accepters – tweeted heavily about Bill’s speech and expressed relatively positive sentiments about both Bill and Hillary during the speech. For both groups this is an improvement over night one, where there was no significant positive sentiment toward Hillary in these groups – her presumed base.

“It’s not quite clear if Bill’s speech is the cause, however, as the amount of positive sentiment expressed by these groups during and after his speech is not statistically distinguishable from what they expressed prior to the speech tonight. But it is definitely more positive than last night."

The Twitter groups Margolin is studying throughout the convention:

  • Defectors to Hillary: People who started out with another Democrat, now follow Hillary instead
  • Hillary Dumpers: People who started out with Hillary, now follow another candidate instead (almost always Sanders)
  • Hillary Avoiders: People who started out with another Democrat, dumped them, don't (yet) follow Hillary
  • Candidate Avoiders: People who started out with Hillary, now follow no Democratic candidates
  • Hillary Accepters: People who started out following Sanders and now also follow Hillary
  • Bernie Holdouts: People who started out following Sanders and still don't follow Hillary

NOTE: More data and analysis from the last two nights of the Democratic National Convention can be found at http://cornellcals.tumblr.com/tagged/Election-2016-Tweets.

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.

- 30 -