President Trump’s opportunity to fill a Supreme Court seat weeks before Election Day is delivering an eleventh-hour jolt to his reelection campaign, according to early analysis of social media data in battleground states.© Provided by Washington Examiner
“Coronavirus and the economy had been the issues driving a lot of the conversation online about this race, almost forever,” Republican digital strategist Adam Meldrum told the Washington Examiner Thursday. “Within the last seven days, the Supreme Court has jumped up to the top.”
The issue is good for Trump, Meldrum says. Emotions on the court issue land between 5 and 10 points higher on a scale than on the coronavirus and the economy, and Trump earns more positive chatter and enthusiasm on this in 9 of 11 battleground states. And he is tied with Joe Biden in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
What this reveals is people “are supportive of what he’s doing and excited about what he’s doing to fill the seat,” Meldrum said, though the analysis is still very early.
With an assist from data intelligence companies Eyesover and Relative Insight, Meldrum uses natural-language processing and artificial intelligence tools to read and process the language data on social media.
He likens the method to a real-time focus group that’s always on.
Meldrum says his analysis is not meant to replace polling but is part of a holistic package of measurement data that campaigns can use to inform their decision-making.
Applied practically, the intelligence yielded can be used to refine outreach to persuadable or likely voters.
“We did a program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the North Carolina special election in 2019,” Meldrum said, recounting a moment when Trump came into the state for a rally, while Meldrum and his colleagues had a listening program going on.
“We noticed a massive shift in the audience that was talking about and engaged in the election,” he said. “So that helped inform the Chamber’s strategy of how to message to those people that they wanted to reach.”
The entry of the Supreme Court issue into the race is a unique moment, which could recast the race in Trump’s favor, Meldrum said.
When measuring support across issues, Trump is gaining “incrementally in a lot of the battleground states more [and] at a higher level than Vice President Biden,” Meldrum said.
“Biden’s supporters talk more often about their support, so he has a higher number of posts and content online” that show this, he continued. “But incrementally, President Trump gained more unique support over time and on a daily basis.”
“It doesn’t mean he’s gonna win the election,” but it is a unique reference point, he said.