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SDL Presidential Election Social Media Monitor Shows Foreign Policy Discussion Takes Center Stage in Key Swing States

Libyan tragedy impacts favourable sentiment for the President in FL, VA and NC

Maidenhead, UK

09/21/2012

SDL (LSE: SDL), the leader in Global Information Management published today the first social media tracking study monitoring sentiment and key campaign issues in the six ‘swing’ states. The SDL Presidential Election Social Media Report shows online discussion for the week ending 14 September dominated by two issues: foreign policy and the economy.

The SDL Presidential Election Social Media Report has been created on the supposition that the election will be decided in just a handful of key states and on discussion of a select few campaign topics, including Medicare, the economy, abortion rights, the deficit, Obamacare and support for the middle class. Using SDL’s software, the report tracks online conversations each week in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado.

This week, foreign policy and the economy outweighed the other issues in every state except Colorado, where postings on entitlements came in behind foreign policy and ahead of the economy.

This week the events in Israel, the Middle East and Libya seem to have had a significant negative impact on the President, whose overall sentiment score for the six swing states dropped from +13 last week to -8.2 this week. However, Governor Romney saw his sentiment score drop even more from +4.2 last week to -10.0 this week.

The President’s sentiment decline was significant last week in three states; Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. Florida saw the most dramatic shift in respective sentiment as the President, who received over 10,000 online postings, saw his sentiment score fall from +29.3 last week to +3.6 this week. By comparison Governor Romney’s sentiment score in Florida actually increased from -3.1 last week to +2.7 this week. Foreign policy’s share of voice online in Florida increased from just 8.7% last week to 28.7%, just behind the economy which carried a 28.8% share of issue voice. The President’s steep sentiment declines in North Carolina and Virginia were matched by corresponding and similar declines for Governor Romney in those two states.

The significant change in the past week vividly shows how current events can quickly overtake a president election. President Obama enjoyed a good rating the previous week in the wake of what was generally perceived as a more successful party convention. The Libyan tragedy and Israel/Iran debate seems to have significantly impacted that position. While the President still maintains the higher sentiment score, the online discussions seem to have favored Governor Romney in the short term.

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