If you use Twitter, there’s no surprise that last week’s supreme court decision about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is a hot topic. So what’s everyone talking about? I analyzed tweets from 6/28/2012 through the end of 7/3/2012:
Does this mean that Twitter was almost 2 to 1 (29%:18%) against Obamacare? Not quite — a lot of the humor was directed at anti-ACA folks (mostly, it seems, about them moving to Canada in protest). Still, it’s clear that the anti-ACA tweeple have been more active.
It will be interesting to see if, in a week or so, whether this intensity keeps up …
To do this analysis, I did a statistically valid sampling of over 500 tweets from the nearly 500K tweets that contained keywords related to the act and the supreme court ruling. I read each and every one of them (and sometimes followed the links in them to be certain of the intent). I then assigned them to one of the categories you see above (and discarded ones that were not on the topic). This sampling is designed to give each score a +/- 5% interval at 95% confidence.
There are several sources of bias, of course. One is “volunteer bias”, which means that you cannot infer what the typical user of Twitter thinks, only what the typical tweet says. There is also a risk of an analysis bias, in that I’m reading the tweets and assigning them to the categories the best that I can. Sometimes, though, sarcasm and sincerity are hard to tell apart!