Did Mitt Romney win in Michigan? Did he lose by not winning by a larger margin? The pundits have thoroughly dissected Romney’s Michigan outcome, but the web seems willing to put Romney back on strong footing, according to the Election Oracle, giving him a burst of new favorability after a tumultuous February.Romney’s recent slugfest with Rick Santorum took a toll on both men. But Romney got the stronger undertow. As the high-stakes Michigan contest approached, Romney’s favorability rating online dipped as low as -30, meaning many more online mentions of him were negative than positive. But after a narrow win in Michigan, a strong finish in Arizona and another victory Wednesday night in Wyoming, Romney is now back in positive territory, up 64 points over the past 24 hours. The reason may be simple, which Romney articulated himself on election night: "We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough and that's all that counts," he said. Indeed, a W in any form is still a W, and despite splitting Michigan’s 30 delegates with Santorum, Romney regained the media narrative as the sole frontrunner.
To determine favorability ratings, the Election Oracle tracks 40,000 news sites, blogs, message boards, Twitter feeds, and other social-media sources to analyze what millions of people are saying about the candidates and issues—and determines whether the Web buzz is positive or negative. That rating is weighted, along with the Real Clear Politics polling average and the latest InTrade market data, to calculate each candidate’s chances of winning the Republican nomination. (See methodology here.)
What we know about the web, however, is that it can be highly indecisive, subject to swings of opinion based on the latest news cycle. Next week’s Super Tuesday will include primaries in 10 states. With Newt Gingrich expected to win Georgia, and Santorum flirting with a victory in Ohio, Romney may again find himself on the ropes—and once again, in the basement of web regard.
Find the Election Oracle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ElectionOracle.