The tweeting masses are on board with the cause of the moment, gay marriage, by a roughly 2.6-to-1 margin, according to a report from Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism. It looks at tweets from May 7, the day after Joe Biden became "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage, to May 11, two days after Obama's announcement of his own support. Via tweet-crunching computers at Crimson Hexagon analyzing the content of tweets, Pew finds that 41 percent of same sex marriage-related tweets were positive, 43 percent were neutral, and a scant 16 percent were negative. A similar pulse-taking of the blogosphere yielded basically the same result: a 40 percent level of support gay marriage during that period, with only 14 against.
So that 41 percent to 16 percent is a much bigger divide than the generally 50-50 split we see among in opinion polls. But that's not surprising, since the microblog's audience skews younger and young people are more likely to support of gay marriage. But before gay rights supporters get too triumphant, as far as this Pew data goes, Obama's support didn't change many tweeting minds:
On Twitter, the increase in discussion was far greater after Obama's statement, although the tone also remained constant. From May 6-8, there was an average of roughly 120,000 statements on Twitter compared to more than 315,000 from May 9 to 13. In both periods, however, the breakdown of that conversation was identical.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.