Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Poll Support x Twitter Followers

In the GOP race we all know Trump is ahead (though perhaps slipping), so I decided to examine all the candidates by their national poll numbers and number of Twitter followers. First off, there is a high correlation between the two (r = .80), in large part thanks to Trump's lead in both polls and Twitter followers. Still, remove Trump and the correlation is still .71, so we got something here.

See the scatterplot below. Yeah, that's Trump all alone in the top right corner. If we drew a regression line here, it'd be running up from 0,0 to Trumpland, a nice linear fit. As I tell my students over and over, however, correlation is not causality. You cannot argue lots of Trump followers equals poll popularity, nor the other way around.

Raw data is below.

Poll Twitter
Bush 8.3 326,000
Carson 17.3 705,000
Christie 2.6 55,600
Cruz 6.1 519,000
Fiorina 11 581,000
Graham 0.3 27,800
Huckabee 2.8 411,000
Jindal 0.5 20,900
Kasich 3.1 111,000
Pataki 0.3 54,600
Paul 2.4 693,000
Rubio 9.5 888,000
Santorum 0.4 245,000
Trump 22.8 4,036,000

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