wonkosphere: Dec 30 23:00 MST, Romney’s blogosphere buzzshare more negative than norm, and trending down as we slide toward Iowa

You can track these trends here.

“What’s going on?” asks WonkoKevin in a wonkoblog post titled Clinton and Paul’s waning dominance in political blogosphere suggests shifting attentions [The emphases are ours, as are changes in formatting to foreground points]

These data suggest that, as one might expect, the Wonkosphere is transitioning from a pre-primary to primary phase, and that means all of the old “attentional structure” that has existed is going to become much less significant in light of upcoming voting results.

What do we mean by “attentional structure”, and why is it important?

It comes from two sources.

First, the Wonkosphere directory is made up of the 1200 plus most prominent political blogs in the country. In the directory there are a significant number of “candidate-only” blogs–blogs that are unabashedly for a single candidate, and may even only talk about that candidate. This is why Ron Paul has had relatively more buzz share than other Republicans, and why Bill Richardson has had relatively less buzz share compared to other Democrats. It’s also why the predictive ability of Wonkosphere buzz share is based on changes in buzz share, not absolute buzz share.

The second source of “bias” in buzz share is the bias that bloggers have towards particular candidates, for any number of reasons. For example, the liberal blogosphere settled on Joe Biden months ago as the 4th candidate, and it’s been that way ever since.

The deterioration of Clinton and Paul’s dominance indicates that the Wonkosphere has shifted into a different phase where those old historical tendencies won’t matter as much, a kind of a change point. We would expect as much with Iowa at our doorstep, and the data is proving it out. A huge increase in the number of blog posts that is occurring now is overwhelming the candidate-only blogs (hence Ron Paul’s decline in buzz share, even though his total buzz amount is about the same). Previous attentional biases are being wiped clean as every new poll comes out and every news item butterfly flaps its wings.

So Clinton and Paul are down, but who else is hot and who’s not according to Wonkosphere data? …

… Barack Obama has moved up from 25% to 32% liberal buzz share in the last 2 weeks.

Ditto Mitt Romney, who has moved from 16% to 23% … etc.

Yet precisely at the moment that buzzshare decouples from the candidate-only blogs, and but hours away from a decision in Iowa, the tone of Romney’s buzzshare trends decidedly negative, especially among conservatives where it has dropped beneath the critical 0.1 level.

Gov. Huckabee’s buzzshare tone trends negative too, way negative, yet his poll numbers are holding.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


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