Political types are fond of saying that only the one poll really matters—I don't know, maybe I just heard that on a TV show. But an election is a prime opportunity to show off your number-crunching skills. That color-coded map may be the most widely viewed data visualization around. So if your business is analyzing online chatter, and an approaching election is generating lots of it, it's only natural to analyze some of that data to show what you can do.
If you want a peak at some of the capabilities of social media analysis companies, just look at their showcase political buzz analysis:
US presidential election
- BlogPulse Campaign Radar (2004) - Nielsen BuzzMetrics
- BrandAdvocacy08 - MotiveQuest
- Dow Jones Insight Election Pulse - Dow Jones Insight
- Issue Coverage Tracker - Washington Post, powered by Daylife
- Political Streams - Microsoft Live Labs
- PoliticalTrends - Lexalytics
- Presidential Watch 08 (English) and US and us (French) - RTGI
- Shifting The Debate - Morningside Analytics
- US Election 2008 Web Monitor - ECOresearch Network
- US Presidential Elections - Omgili
- What's the buzz? (2008), America Votes (2004) - CNN, powered by Umbria
- Wonkosphere - Crawdad Technologies
- Attentio: Belgian election blog buzz (24 July 2007)
- Onalytica: US Presidential Candidates in Social Media (8 April 2007), Clinton, McCain Leading Online Race (12 May 2007)
Let's not leave out the web metrics folks. Hitwise and Compete are using audience metrics as an indicator of voter interest. Hitwise is also reporting on popular search terms (typically candidates' names) and political sites beyond the official campaign sites.
All of these special reports from metrics and analysis vendors create an opportunity to compare audience data and online buzz with election results. Any guesses on which will be the better predictor of the outcome? Or will the dartboard win?
Did I miss your campaign coverage? Add it in the comments, and I'll add it to the list.
Update: If it's in the draft folder, someone else must be working on the same topic. Matt Hurst wrote a similar post on tracking political buzz yesterday. We're going to see a lot of blog aggregation this time around.