February 8th was a watershed day in the US Presidential campaign of Rick Santorum. The Pennsylvania conservative picked up a sweep of somewhat unexpected wins in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Pundits and news sources called the outcome "devastating" for the Mitt Romney campaign and a "shot in the arm" for Rick Santorum. Romney went on the offensive, launching attacks against his Republican rival weeks after the event.
All of this would be great, with the exception that February 8th was actually the statistical peak of the Rick Santorum campaign. We can prove this by mining social data.
A few charts below from our Polygraph™ Reports, which launch later this month. First, let's look at the daily engagement on the Rick Santorum Facebook Page. The chart below demonstrates the natural excitement and social chatter that took place on the Facebook Page in & around the three state sweep. Maybe voters were mobilized. Maybe it is a function of additional ad spend... maybe a function of real grassroots momentum. The chart below is what you want to see -- ramping up of interest, engagement, and momentum for the big day.
But then, something interesting happened. Excitement tailed off -- JUST the opposite of what you'd expect from a campaign that just had a landmark victory. It's kinda like a basketball team achieving the dream of getting to the Final Four, but then laying an egg once they get there. Something about "happy to be there".
But joking aside, there may be a lot of reasons for this -- the campaign spent its available resources on the three state win and had no more to spend. Maybe there was a dropoff in advertising. Maybe people just lost their enthusiasm for the candidate and the campaign. Experts in the field would certainly know better than us and would be able to add color to things the data reveal.
All we know is that (in this case) the data suggests that the 2012 Rick Santorum Presidential campaign peaked on February 8th, 2012. We confirmed this trend as early as February 15th, almost a week before Mitt Romney continued his attacks on Santorum. He could've just left well enough alone and saved the additional $$ spent on attack ads and messaging on an effectively dying candidate.
Interestingly, this data was confirmed just this morning by Henry Blodget. And check out the Intrade chart below. Intrade futures say more or less the same thing -- Santorum peaked on Feburary 8th.
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