Twitter Data Signaled Ted Cruz Victory in Iowa Republican Caucus

Courtesy of re/code:

Twitter data anticipated Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s narrow Iowa caucus victory Monday over his billionaire rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump.

On the eve of Monday’s caucuses, Twitter released information showing a shift in sentiment away from the brash presumptive front-runner to Cruz, who had assiduously built relationships in all 99 counties ahead of the voting.

Adam Sharp, Twitter’s head of news, government and elections, said the results don’t replace traditional polling “any more than satellite and radar will replace the thermometer.” But the Twitter conversation did reflect a change in the days following the final Des Moines Register poll Saturday that showed Trump reclaiming the lead.

“Those several days are a political eternity,” Sharp said. “What I think the Twitter conversation did in the last few days was lend an interesting perspective on the natural conversations these Iowans were having between those final polls and showing up to caucus.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Facebook reported that hundred of thousands of Iowans were “Liking,” commenting, posting and sharing information about the 2016 presidential race. In the hours leading up to the caucuses, that conversation continued to be dominated by Trump and the Democratic party’s anti-establishment candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost a hard-fought contest for Democratic caucus voters in Iowa to rival Hillary Clinton.

The social network says it doesn’t claim to offer election forecasts. Rather, this data is a reflection of the intensity of the interest in the 2016 campaign — which also dominated discussions last year.

“We have never claimed to be able to predict such a thing,” said Crystal Patterson, Facebook’s government and policy outreach manager. “We looked at it as reflective of the conversation, but not predictive of anything.