Social media as a whole is still very much in its infancy, and trying to predict real outcomes from 140 character tweets and Facebook posts is, to date, hardly an exact science.

However, this hasn’t stopped potential pioneers in the new medium from trying to make use of the largely untapped political resource that is social media. Case in point: Laughton Chandler, who recently conducted an analysis of social media to attempt a prediction at tomorrow’s special election in South Carolina.

Skepticism of such analysis is not an uncommon reaction. Chandler gave some limited insight into his methods in an article on, a site that has been following the special election closely.

“I used several metrics, beyond mere likes/followers/subscribers, but also going into how many other people are independently engaged/discussing the particular candidate,” Chandler wrote Patch. However, he would not disclose all of his metrics.

As with any form of statistical analysis, the metrics are the key. The problem with using social media is that consistently reliable metrics have heretofore eluded the emerging industry.

The obvious caveat with predictions of the type Chandler is engaging in is that, on the whole, the medium is fraught with inconsistencies. Whether it’s “Twitter bots” masquerading as real people or simply the existence of overzealous followers flooding the internet with mentions leading to the appearance of a strong following. Did an image of Ron Paul just pop into your mind?

In spite of the relative unreliability of social media based predictions to date, Chandler may be on to something.

Chandler’s metrics accurately predicted the first four finishers in the 16-candidate GOP primary March 19. The metrics also accurately predicted the two last-place finishers. However, the 12 candidates in between ranged widely from his predictions.

Chandler SC-2 Predictions

There certainly is a fair amount of discrepancy between the predicted and actual results, but accurately predicting the top 4 finishers in an obscure 16-person primary is a fairly impressive feat using any form of statistical analysis.

Couple these figures with the fact that Bostic recently received an endorsement from former long-time Congressman in South Carolina’s 1st district, Henry Brown, and this race might just catch us all by surprise.

Recall our stand on this race regarding Mark Sanford: Just say no. Not only can the GOP do better, the GOP needs better.

Right now, the GOP needs Curtis Bostic in South Carolina.


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