Florida’s 18th congressional district is one of the more interesting races this mid-term year. The incumbent, Patrick Murphy, won his seat by defeating the highly controversial Allen West. But the district as a whole is not a strong one for the democrat, with most predictions seeming to put it at “lean” democratic.
That has generated a large number of GOP contenders who will face off in this month’s primary. For reasons that escape me, the GOP as a whole has not focused resources on this district, and the primary is still a large scramble. And there seems to be no recent polls, which makes it hard to know what’s happening.
We can look to Twitter to get a sense of what’s happening, however, and although it doesn’t give us a solid prediction, right away some things are obvious:
The clear leader, on Twitter, is (and always has been) Calvin Turnquest. Nick Wukoson is a close second place, and Carl Domino has stepped up his social media presence to make it into a distant 3rd place. The other 3 candidates have little discussion about them on social media. If the winner was not from the top 2 I would be surprised. And I expect that Calvin Turnquest, who has built and maintained a solid presence on Twitter through the months, will win.
What about November? Democrat Patrick Murphy appears to be far ahead of his hopeful competitors. But what’s interesting is that if you add-up the mentions of all the GOP contenders, it is higher than Murphy’s. That tells me that there’s a lot of enthusiasm out there and a fall upset could be in the works. But once the primary is over, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game.
Here’s the daily charts for comparison:
I find it interesting that Turnquest and Wukoson tend to peak around the same times — that tells me that the conversation is not uniquely about them but more about the race. That Turnquest almost always does better is suggestive that he’s going to come out on top in the primary.
Using Twitter to predict races is iffy, at best. But I believe that it does give you a sense of the enthusiasm candidates are generating. A candidate like Lara, who averages about 4 mentions a day cannot be generating the support of Turnquest, who’s over 20 mentions a day on average. That enthusiasm is critical to a primary with no top-of-ticket draw.