Ahead of the South Carolina Democratic primary, Clemson University is reviving its statewide public opinion poll, the Palmetto Poll, to work in combination its Social Media Listening Center.
This new system will allow for Clemson to utilize social media analytics along with traditional polling methods.
“The partnership of online political conversations derived from social media analytics with traditional polling methods in statewide public opinion survey research will permit richer and more insightful information about voter attitudes and election preferences,” said Clemson political science professor and co-director of the Palmetto Poll Bruce Ransom. “By combining forces, the Social Media Learning Center and the Palmetto Poll are perched to utilize the latest technology to generate more accurate and usable findings about South Carolina’s voter attitudes and election preferences.”
On Feb. 25, faculty from the university’s behavioral, social and health sciences will monitor social media coverage of the Democratic primary presidential debate by keeping track of keywords and mentions of primary candidates’ names. This process allows the center to observe how media coverage impacts political topics on social media. In addition, the Palmetto Poll will be performed into that same evening.
Based on the combined results, Clemson faculty will try to predict the winner of the Feb. 29 primary. The program also plans to use this same method to predict the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
The listening center was previously used to monitor real-time political discussion during the 2016 presidential election.