2016 Presidential Election: Twitter Topics of the Presidential Candidates

Open Access
Author:
Karwel, Lauren Joanna
Area of Honors:
Advertising/Public Relations
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Steve Manuel, Thesis Supervisor
  • Susan Mary Strohm, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media
  • Twitter
  • Presidential Election
Abstract:
This study was conducted to find which topics the 2016 presidential candidates are posting about on Twitter that are gaining the highest reaction from their followers. The goal was to find if certain topics receive a higher reaction than others do. As the election is getting closer, this study can help give an insight on what topics the candidate’s followers what to hear about. It also aims to find if the use of a hashtag or photo will increase the reaction from the followers. A content analysis was conducted to find the top tweets for four candidates from December 2015 to February 2016. The tweets were coded and analyzed based on the tweet topic and use of hashtag or photo. The tweets were placed into six categories including tweets about the election, tweets about current political issues, personal tweets, tweets about President Obama and tweets about a candidate’s opposing candidates. The tweets that didn’t fall into the categories listed above were placed in an “other” category. The data found that of the tweets analyzed, the followers are reacting the most to candidate’s tweets about the election, political issues and the opposing candidates. The tweets analyzed showed that the use of hashtags or photos did not have a high reaction from the candidate’s followers. The results of this study will help advance the understanding of which topics the candidates are discussing that are receiving the highest reaction from Twitter users.