As the microblogging service Twitter becomes an increasingly popular tool for politicians and general users to comment on and discuss politics, researchers increasingly turn to the relationship between tweets mentioning parties or candidates and their respective electoral fortunes. This paper offers a detailed analysis of Twitter messages posted during the run-up to the 2009 federal election in Germany and their relationship to the electoral fortunes of Germany’s parties and candidates. This analysis will focus on four metrics for measuring the attention on parties and candidates on Twitter and the relationship to their respective vote share. The metrics discussed here are: the total number of hashtags mentioning a given political party; the dynamics between explicitly positive or explicitly negative mentions of a given political party; the total number of hashtags mentioning one of the leading candidates, Angela Merkel (CDU) or Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD); and the total number of users who used hashtags mentioning a given party or candidate. The results will show that during the campaign of 2009 Twitter messages commenting on parties and candidates showed little, if any, systematic relationship with subsequent votes on election day. In the discussion of the results, I will raise a number of issues that researchers interested in predicting elections with Twitter will have to address to advance the state of the literature.
Der deutsche Bundestagswahlkampf im Superwahljahr 2009 war mit seinen Online-Elementen im Wesentlichen durch zwei Umstände geprägt: Die Erwartungen von Öffentlichkeit und Medien einen starken Online-Wahlkampf zu erleben und den Online-Experimenten der Parteien im direkten Vorlauf zur Bundestagswahl.