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Twitter analysis shows US election is too close to call

In depth analysis of US public emotion on twitter has revealed the Presidential candidates are neck and neck as America goes to the polls.

For the past two weeks, EMOTIVE – a unique computer programme that analyses up to 3,000 tweets per second, has been analysing twitter activity around key hashtags linked to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Until now, Trump had kept a consistent lead as favourite for the White House. But an overnight shift has seen Clinton improve her rating and researchers are saying the result is now ‘too close to call’.

EMOTIVE uses complex software to extract from each tweet a direct expression of one of eight basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, shame and confusion. It is analysing over 40,000 tweets per day.

Candidates receive a rating based on the amount of uncertainty associated with each emotion. The more consistent the emotional outpour for a candidate over time, the more certainty that emotion is attributed to them.

An overall score of all eight emotions gives an indication of who is in the lead, based on public sentiment.

Professor Tom Jackson, who heads up the EMOTIVE team, said:

“Emotive gives us a real time snapshot of how people are feeling as they approach Election Day.

“Emotion towards Donald Trump has remained relatively consistent over the last two weeks, which had put him in a strong position to win. Reaction towards Hillary Clinton has been much more erratic, culminating in a spike of anger over the last 24 hours.

“However, emotion has now levelled out and we see both candidates level pegging. Is it possible for Clinton to make a comeback?”

Dr Martin Sykora, who is also part of the EMOTIVE team added:

 “Data from the 12 hours shows Clinton and Trump are level. The consistency of the Trump tweets give him a marginal advantage, but it’s too close to accurately predict the winner at this stage.”

The system is tracking and analysing tweets with the following hashtags: #Trump, #Trump2016, #Hillary, Hillary2016, #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, #ImWithHer.

For real-time updates on twitter activity visit the dedicated EMOTIVE website for the US elections, where you can track in real time people’s feelings to the presidential race and which candidate is currently in the lead.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 16/146

Photo credit: By Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg: BU Rob13 Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg: Gage [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Professor Jackson and Dr Sykora are part of the Centre of Information Management in Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics.

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