Want To Predict A Presidential Election Accurately? Hear People

Want To Predict A Presidential Election Accurately? Hear People

Analysis of political posts on Odyssey shows the balance that traditional media missed.
36
views

After the dust settled last week, everyone was asking the same question: how did the media get it so wrong? Why did it portray the election of Hillary Clinton as inevitable? Two primary critiques emerged. The first was that there was a media bias—that the industry was “so in bed” with Hillary that they wanted her to win and didn’t properly report on or vet both sides. The second was around the flaws of social media—that due to the nature of newsfeed algorithms, we all found ourselves in echo chambers of the same ideas from like-minded people, from the same old places.

The way I see it, there isn't enough content being created from diverse communities, and it's too hard for consumers to discover interesting content from multiple viewpoints. Media has to shout so loud to get through the noise, it resorts to radical headlines and outlandish commentators just to get our attention.

What if we were informed by the honest, unfiltered sentiment of people around the country instead? What if news feeds showed multiple perspectives around a topic instead of an echo chamber reinforcing our current beliefs? The good news is that our ability to do this exists now. If the media industry had embraced new media models that bring those perspectives to the world, everyone might have had a much more realistic understanding of how the election would unfold.

This is one of the reasons I created Odyssey, our social media platform of more than 15,000 content creators in 1,000+ communities and over 30 million readers. We analyzed nearly 11,000 pieces of election-related content posted on Odyssey over the past year. The results show, among a number of interesting data points, that while feelings about the two candidates were relatively balanced, a distinct anti-Hillary sentiment existed as well.

People engaged more with anti-Hillary content

While there was a higher percentage of positive Clinton articles posted on Odyssey, anti-Clinton content generated substantially more social engagements per read (while ‘engagement’ encompasses ‘likes,’ comments or shares per pageview, likes, which more obviously indicate sentiment, are the primary driver of the metric).

Trump was a more interesting subject

Of all election-related content generated since November 2015, 80 percent was related to Trump. Still, contrary to what the media might have thought, the posts were fairly evenly split between pro and anti-Trump sentiment.


Trump content inspired more response

Thirty-five percent of reads of a Trump-focused article resulted in the reader taking some social action, such as liking, sharing or commenting. Twenty-eight percent of Clinton-focused articles inspired that kind of response.

While “polls and predictive models failed to predict Trump’s strength” (Politico), an examination of the Odyssey community could have given everyone a more accurate sense of how the vote was going to turn out. Why?

How the democratization of content fixes media

The community model fosters trust: People are starving to understand what’s going on in their community. They also want to hear more global viewpoints through the lens of their community peers. When people understand that those perspectives represent nothing more than authentic ideas that the community deems important, they trust it.

Diverse viewpoints breed understanding: When you enable people everywhere to create content, the perspectives you get represent a wide range of opinions, not just what a few minds decide is newsworthy. There are a lot of people who have a lot to say out there. When that becomes thousands of millennial content creators representing more than 1,000+ local communities across the nation, you start to see just how wide that range--and how diverse that perspective--can be. Singular perspectives get woven into a rich fabric of ideas.

Personalized discovery helps people form a new worldview: Once that new fabric of ideas is surfaced, people need to make it their own. With noise-free exposure to these ideas, each person can then internalize what resonates the most with them and approach every issue with their own, new, broader perspective.

The combination of these three concepts solves media’s creation and distribution problem, breaking the echo chamber and bringing more empathy, value, and understanding.

It should be apparent by now that media’s role in influencing elections needs to change drastically. It bombed in this election because it didn’t understand or disseminate what people across the nation really thought. How do we ensure that media and social media are much more constructive next time around? At some level, there’s a fairly simple bottom line here: want to understand what the people really think? Go to the people! Hear their voices not only across the U.S., but across the entire globe.

Study & Methodology

*Study based on 10,990 total pieces of content. All articles mention Trump/Clinton in the headline and/or brief. Articles categorized as Trump/Clinton defined as content with mention of either candidate's name in the headline and/or brief of the piece. Engagements defined as likes, comments or shares to per page view per article. Pro/Anti categorization dependent on positive/negative descriptors commonly used for each candidate.

Cover Image Credit: Credit: Adam Scotti / Flickr

Popular Right Now

This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
241562
views

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Breaking, Raking, Shaking

A news-wire covering breaking news, financial news, and interesting stories too.
1448
views

School's out for summer, but not forever. Let's get caught up on some stories I found really fascinating this week.

Over 60 killed in protests near the Israel and Palestine border(developing):

The arrival of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has been debated for decades and now that it's officially there, (no less on the anniversary of Israel's independence) Palestinians have come out to protest. According to the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner among those killed were women, children, journalists, first responders, and bystanders. Israeli Defense Forces estimated 40,000 protestors were at the protest. Israel military forces air-dropped leaflets warning protestors to stay away from the eastern border of the Gaza strip near the security fence.

The use of live ammunition and force is being called into question as to whether or not that was the best course of action for the protest. I have a feeling this will continue to develop in the future weeks. Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the "appalling, and deadly violence".

Social Security Secrets: Some information on SS.

Although I'm quite far from being anywhere near retirement age I found this article on some basic information about Social Security to be very fascinating. This article covers topics like when you can receive your full benefit depending on the year you were born, what spousal benefits can tell you about your experience, and other curious odds and ends most people don't know about Social Security.

A new think-tank suggests combining Medicare and the ACA: a revolutionary idea on Healthcare?

The plan is called "The Healthy America" plan, and it's being lauded by those from the left-of-center think-tank "The Urban Institute". Their proposal doesn't suggest we change our market to a system focused on healthcare for all. Instead this plan suggests we offer public options with private plans by creating a new market. It would cover children, and the disabled the same, and it would provide more cost coverage for those on the Affordable Care Act. Among other policies on the plan, it would cover Low-income people if they were found to be uninsured, and also keep the pre-existing condition prohibition ban from the ACA.


Department of State lifts hiring freeze: A change in the air for foreign policy?

New Secretary of State, and former CIA director Mike Pompeo has lifted the hiring freeze at the State Department of the United States. This is a shift from the former policies of former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson. This shift may be a sign that the United States is making a change in how it approaches foreign policy, or it could signify Pompeo gaining favor with the President.


Supreme Court strikes down law banning gambling on Sports

The New Jersey law prohibiting gambling on sports has been struck down by the highest court in the United States. This could open up gambling on sports more throughout the nation, and will help increase growth in a burgeoning industry.

Africa's Free Trade Future: A story in the works

African nations have started signing a new free trade agreement in Africa aiming to eliminate 90% of tariffs within the continent for commercial trade.Talks started in 2015 to establish what the nations are attempting to call the "African Continental Free Trade Area". If successful in the negotiations, the continent could see its GDP grow to $3 Trillion making it one of the larger economies in the world, comparative to Germany.

In other news...

Elon Musk shares video of Tesla pulling Jet

This is pretty neat! Who says Electric cars don't have torque?

Tenacious D announce tour, and new album

Ever since the pick of destiny, many of our lives have felt the impact of Tenacious D. Their music serenades the heart, and solidifies the soul. With the recent announcement of a new tour, and a new album it's hard to contain the joy resonating from myself. With it being their first album in six years, i'm sure there are plenty of others prepared for the LP later this year.

Cover Image Credit: diggertomsen from flickr

Related Content

Facebook Comments