Study: Press, Polls More Critical Of Obama Than Social Media Users

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall style meeting at Facebook headquarters. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall style meeting at Facebook headquarters. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A new study found that social media users viewed the debate performance of President Barack Obama more favorably than media outlets or participants in national polls.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, an extension of the Pew Research Center, drew its conclusion by analyzing commentary on Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs.

A reported 40 percent of Facebook users and 35 percent of Twitter users favored Obama and opposed the words of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

On the blogs, Obama’s reception was not as warm – only 12 percent of bloggers sided with Obama, while 45 percent of users declared Romney the winner.

“On both Twitter and Facebook, the conversation was much more critical of Mitt Romney than it was of Barack Obama,” a release posted on Pew’s website stated in summation. “Only in blogs, which tended to offer more of a summary of the event than a moment-to-moment reaction, did the sentiment resemble that of instant polls or press analysis, which have tended to see Romney as having the better of the debate.”

The release added, “For both candidates in social media, however, praise of their performance in general was hard to come by.”

Social media interactions regarding the debate were also frequently tinged with humor, especially on Twitter. Meanwhile, Facebook users were reportedly far more serious – less than 1 percent of users analyzed by the research center shared jokes on the matter.

The opinions of those using Facebook and Twitter to discuss their impressions reportedly differed from what Pew observed in national news coverage following the event.

“A CNN poll of debate watchers taken immediately after the debate found that 67 [percent] of registered voters thought Romney won the debate, [as opposed to] 25 [percent] for President Barack Obama,” researchers noted. “A CBS News poll of undecided voters who watched found 46 [percent] for Romney and 22 [percent] for Obama.”

According to the release, both human researchers and computer analytics were utilized in processing data.

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