Midterm elections are often won or lost on how effective the parties are at the get-out-the-vote ground game.
As political data-munchers work overtime to process how increased early voting numbers in the tossup North Carolina Senate race — up 20 percent on the 2010 midterms with 1.2 million voting — may impact tomorrow’s result, Verifeed parsed Twitter conversations to see what candidate has the social edge.
According to the U.S. Election Project, Democratic share of the early vote is up 1.3 percent, and registered Democrats are up 15.7 percent in North Carolina. An analysis of influence, trends and sentiment on Twitter about early voting and get-out-the-vote efforts by both parties confirms this trend.
In the lead-up to the start of early voting Oct. 23, Verifeed analysis found Democratic "influencers" on Twitter engaged 3.2 million North Carolinians in active conversations with pleas to vote early, compared with just 412,113 Twitter users engaged by the GOP. And in the past week, Democrats have continued to dominate conversations about early voting and efforts to drive Tuesday’s voter turnout — actively engaging 487,714 people on Twitter, more than four times the GOP’s 103,567.
Sen. Kay Hagan directly engaged 39 people we dub ‘unique amplifiers’ in North Carolina. Those power Twitter users in turn amplified her tweets to 97,276 users in their networks. Her Republican challenger, state House speaker Thom Tillis was retweeted by 23 such amplifiers on the topic of early voting to engage 17,540 people in the past seven days.
The tweets from @KayHagan and other Democrats such as @NCBlondes, @TuxedoCat, @CollegeDemsNC and @RichardOHornos that reached the most people were exhortations to vote when early voting opened on Oct. 23, while tweets from Republican activists @jjauthor, @YoungBLKRepublican, @nrlc and @GOP concerned voter ID laws and Democratic accusations that Republicans were deliberately suppressing the African American vote.
“How big an insult is it that liberals believe millions of blacks would find getting a voter ID too onerous,” tweeted Janie Johnson (@jjauthor), whose bio identifier is a Republican in Nevada.
Or this one retweeted by Republican @TaggertGirl: “@vincecoakley: Translation: Blacks are stupid. Where is the outrage about this? http://t.co/yiJrvW25Enâ€ #VoterID #ncsen”.
Verifeed continued to look at issues resonating the most with North Carolinians and most likely to spur turnout on either side.
Democrats have dominated the Twitter discussion in North Carolina about education , capitalizing on growing public anger about education spending cuts passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature. Republicans had been absent from this conversation, with Hagan influencing more than 10 times the voters on public schools and teachers pay through Oct. 15. Those are issues more likely to boost turnout among traditional Democratic voters.
Since then, Republicans have stepped up their game on education: The Top 10 GOP influencers on this issue in the past 7 days engaged 193,059 people compared to the Democrats’ 75,932.
Republicans continue to dominate the health care discussion. The Top 10 influencers on this topic engaged 1.6 million people in just seven days. The only Democrat in the Top 10 is strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile, who engaged 81,188 people with a tweet about Tillis, suggesting the Tar Heel state should consider expanding Medicaid.
The GOP Twitter drumbeat linking Hagan to all things #ebola continues apace, with the Top 10 influencers focused on the scare reaching 819,878 people in the past seven days. In the four weeks to Oct. 15, Republicans engaged more people on Ebola than any other issue to reach 3.4 million people with tweets criticizing Hagan for her initial opposition to a ban on flights from West Africa.
Melinda Wittstock is the CEO of Verifeed.com, which analyzes social media conversations and data. Related stories: The Big Issue in the North Carolina Senate Race Twitter Trends, Influencers in North Carolina Senate Race Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.