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Twitter to gauge US presidential election race

Twitter seems to be at the top of all the biggest events around the globe lately, with tweeters turning to the social media engine to share their thoughts and opinions on the attraction of the moment, the London Olympics.

Once that event is done in mid-August all eyes will start to follow the US presidential election – and again Twitter has made steps to ensure that they're on top of that too, by providing original content for users to engage in.

Tweets have dramatically increased from the election in 2008, with pundits dubbing 2012 as the Twitter election. The prevalence of Twitter has grown so much that the tweet volume from Election Day in 2008 represents only about six minutes of Tweets today.

Twitter is now one of the major platforms for debate and to air and get a scope of public opinion, where it has now become a tool for analysis.

The Twitter Political Index was launched on August 1, and is a daily analysis of Twitter users feelings toward candidates, which are shared in almost two million tweets a week.

The index was built in partnership with Topsy and polling firms The Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research, where each day the index evaluates the attitudes and opinions of tweets that mention Obama or Romney.

An example of the index results given by the Twitter blog was "a score of 73 for a candidate indicates that Tweets containing their name or account name are on average more positive than 73 percent of all Tweets."

Another way of explaining how it works is by comparing the index to the technologies used by forecasters to get a picture of the weather. It gives an insight into the feelings about the presidential candidates, but it's not supposed to replace traditional polling – it instead reinforces it.

Posted by April Revake