7/9: Which hot button issue is getting more attention?
This week we're turning to U.S. social media to see what the people have to say.
We created searches for two of the largest themes in elections right now. Our voting rights search also included phrases such as "ballot access" and the election integrity search included phrases such as "election security" and "election fraud."
The results are pretty surprising. Over the last week, a substantially higher amount of coverage has gone to voting rights - issues more aggressively championed by Democrats - than election integrity, an issue adopted by Republicans.
A caveat: our search looked primarily at Twitter and Facebook, and while Twitter is easy to track, Facebook posts and comments are generally hidden behind more privacy settings. The right wing has a massive advantage on Facebook, with right-wing voices garnering significantly more engagement on posts than left-wing figures. Should our search be able to view all Facebook posts, this chart may look much different.
Nevertheless, the discrepancy in posts between the two election issues is noteworthy. Considering the attention that right-leaning legislation and initiatives are receiving across the country to "protect election security" after disproven rumors of fraud through 2020 election results into disarray, we would expect to see more tweets capturing those big phrases.
Of course, some of those initiatives are a) being protested as attacks on voting rights and b) may be masquerading as voting rights, thus magnifying posts under that theme.
This all to say, there are a number of explanations as to why there may be such a great divide between post counts. However, those explanations aside, this theme comparison paints a starkly different image than many of the loud voices calling for election integrity would like us to believe.
Next week, we may take these same themes to the traditional media side of things to see how the conversation compares. Stay tuned.