WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – Users of the social micro-blogging network Twitter were said to have offered more critiques than compliments on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of people who commented in one direction or the other on the speech offered negative commentary, while 43 percent of those people viewed Obama’s words in a positive light.
Using a combination of coding and algorithms for analysis, researchers were also able to determine which topics garnered the greatest amount of attention from Twitter users. Overall, the topics of “women” and “education” were observed the most.
“Obama’s attention to workplace equality triggered a good amount of the conversation,” a release on Pew’s findings noted. “The word ‘women’ appeared more often than 30 other search terms in the Twitter discussion, followed by such domestic topics as education, jobs, healthcare reform and the economy.”
It continued, “That marks something of a shift from a year earlier when the education ranked first, minimum wage ranked second and gun control and the deficit were also in the top five.”
Those involved in the study also observed an upward shift in the amount of attention paid by Twitter users to the speech overall.
The release noted, “The 2014 SOTU conversation was also a bit more robust (1.64 million tweets in four hours) than the year before (1.35 million).”
The State of the Union speech came at the beginning of the sixth year in Obama’s presidency and was replete with all the political pageantry that Washington can muster. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opened her arms wide to give a grinning Obama a huge hug as he walked past her on the way to the speaker’s rostrum.
The galleries ringing the floor were crowded with guests, also part of the traditional setting. The evening’s longest — and most bipartisan — applause went to one of them. Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, grievously injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, acknowledged the cheers from his seat next to first lady Michelle Obama.
By contrast, Obama’s mention of the health care law that bears his name brought cheers from Democrats and silence from Republicans, who have spent the past three years trying to repeal a program they loathe.
He said he didn’t expect Republicans to change their minds but challenged them to offer improvements. “If you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people and increase choice — tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up.
“But let’s not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans.”
Data was examined between 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28 and 1 a.m. on Jan. 29. Jokes or neutral comments were excluded from what Pew referred to as the “sentiment analysis.”
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