Florida’s 2014 Governor Race: Charlie Crist Dominates Twitter in December

The month of December 2012 isn’t quite over, but it’s clear that when it comes to Twitter it’s been all Charlie Crist:

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Crist’s re-registering into the Democratic Party — considered by most a harbinger of his entry into the 2014 race — generated huge commentary on Twitter.  His testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Committee produced a second blip for him later in the month, although a poll showing Rick Scott to be unpopular boosted Scott’s Twitter mentions that same day.

So far, for the month, it has been 19K+ mentions of Charlie Crist that had an overwhelmingly positive sentiment, 10k+ mentions of Rick Scott, and just under 1K mentions for Alex Sink, the 2010 unsuccessful democratic candidate (and who is thought to be interested in running again).

The challenge for Charlie Crist will be to sustain his lead in Twitter.  Switching parties generated a lot of buzz — both pro and con — but other news events (like his testimony) generate far smaller reactions on Twitter.  I believe that Rubio’s masterful use of social media combined with the governor’s very limited social media efforts helped Rubio knock Crist out of the senate race in 2010.  Crist will need to work harder to stay on top-of-mind in social media this time around.  There’s few block-buster events he can count on, and it’s going to be a long grind before people start to focus on the 2014 race.

Alex Sink will need to begin to engage in social media if she’s going to make a run for the office again; to be fair, though, there can be no criticism of her delaying those efforts (or a decision) for a few months given her recent loss.

And for Rick Scott? He’s constantly being mentioned on Twitter, but his sentiment scores tend to balance out.  He’s going to need to find a way to improve the conversation about him on Twitter.

Translating Twitter activity into results at the ballot box is not particularly reliable, but in the recent senate race Connie Mack’s early domination of Twitter predicted his success in the primaries.