Robin Carnahan, Roy Blunt Campaigns Show Importance of Monitoring

by Tracy Panko on September 7, 2010

carnahan blunt 2010

The Robin Carnahan (D) – Roy Blunt (R) race for a U.S. Senate seat is being watched all over the country, partially because of Missouri’s status as a bellwether state and partially because it’s getting nasty.

We work with a lot of political campaigns and strategists and use our social media monitoring and business intelligence gathering software, which helps them not only devise their campaign strategies, but tweak them as needed. We’ve had our eye on these candidates and this race for some time now, since it’s “home town politics,” and from a social media monitoring standpoint, it’s making for a great case study.

The specifics: For purposes of this analysis, each candidate has its own topic study and each study was allocated two queries and contains the following keywords:

Robin Carnahan study

Query 1 – The name of the candidate in quotes (“Robin Carnahan”)
Query 2 – The name of the candidate in quotes (“Robin Carnahan”) and the last name of the competitor (Blunt)

Roy Blunt study

Query 1 – The name of the candidate in quotes (“Roy Blunt”)
Query 2 – The name of the candidate in quotes (“Roy Blunt”) and the last name of the competitor (Carnahan)

This is important, because it allows us to measure how our subjects perform on their own versus how they perform in conjunction with their competitor.

Why Language Matters

It’s been interesting to watch the language of the campaigns using our Semantic Cloud tool. Looking at the words most often used when discussing the candidates is extremely important when developing a campaign. First, you can see language trends as they develop and secondly, you can measure the penetration of your new campaign keywords and language.

The semantic clouds below display the top 50 most used words in each study. First, the Robin Carnahan study. As you would expect with a search like this, “Carnahan” comes back as the most commonly occurring term, but we don’t see “Blunt” as the second most common term, but rather “Obama”. Hmmm…

carnahan social media web monitor

Total Word Count - Carnahan study

And here is a look at the top 50 most commonly used words in the Roy Blunt study. The fact that “Obama” is also ranked higher in his cloud confirms that Roy Blunt is running his campaign more as a referendum on incumbent President Obama than he is against his opponent. His strategy seems to be to tie Carnahan to Obama. (Also notice that “Republican” is in the top 10 of both clouds, but no variations of “Democrat” appear until later):

blunt campaign word totals

Total Word Count - Blunt study

This piece of insight jumped out at us when we read a recent edition of Rasmussen Reports, one of the most influential domains in either study: “Carnahan appears to be facing a difficult political environment with Missouri voters expressing even more unhappiness with the current policies of the federal government than voters nationally. Voters in the state are slightly more critical of President Obama, too.”

For now, Roy Blunt’s strategy appears to be working. The Aug. 24 Rasmussen Reports survey shows Blunt earning 51% of the vote while Carnahan is losing steam at 40%, which is her poorest showing to date.

Data is a powerful tool and it’s no surprise that politicians and political strategists rely on it and, these days, on social media monitoring and business intelligence gathering to help them do what they do best – which is win elections.

(Candidates’ image from

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