Sara Palin & SNL: Josh Bernoff has Questions . . . .

October 23, 2008

We sent out an email blast last week about our BrandAdvocacy ’08 website and got some questions back from Josh Bernoff at Forrester (blogging here).

Here are his questions – and our answers. (By the way, Josh’s questions were pretty representative of the questions we are getting from everyone.)

1. Is there a bias in people who create or react to content online towards the democratic and liberal candidates?

  • First, if you look at the trend data on Brandadvocay08 it is clear that sometimes Obama has led and sometimes McCain has led, so on a very simple level this does not seem to be true.
  • Second, when we created the dataset we were careful to create a representative dataset of both ordinary people and political commentators.  For example on the site we have links to one of each for Democrats and for Republicans We found that there are plenty of Republicans who are online also.
  • In addition we can look at the underlying constant of regression the CNN Poll of Polls and Obama’s Online Promoter™ Score to determine if there is an “online bias”.  The CNN Poll of Polls shows a constant of 50.8%, MQ’s OPS shows a constant of 49.6%.
  • MQ’s data does not reflect a particularly liberal bias, other slices of data might, if we look more recently perhaps one could be emerging but over the 9/1 to 10/20 time frame there doesn’t appear to be one.
  • This also depends on your belief in the bias of the poll of polls; I’m not a polling person and can’t say if there is a bias in the poll of polls.

2. Do people online just like to talk about the Wow activities (like Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live) vs the real Issues?

  • Every day we highlight the words that are most highly correlated with each candidate.

  • They show what issues the nation is associating with each candidate.  Sometimes it is true that they focus on the Wow stories but we see that they are just as likely to be seriously discussing the real issues (taxes, God, wealth, etc).  Don’t underestimate the power of forums as a place everyday people share their fears and thoughts with others like them.  For example take a look at this discussion on’s forums

3. How does Online advocacy relate to traditional polls?

  • From one perspective, its apples and oranges, polls attempt to measure the outcome of the presidential election if it were held on a particular day, MQ is measuring the number of people who are advocating a particular candidate.
  • On the flip side, if you believe as we do that people advocating to each other is an important piece of the future success of brands, products (and candidates) then we hope to show that the candidate with the most advocates will be the winner of the election.
  • Important caveat, we don’t have an electoral college or battleground states so at best we can hope to use advocacy as an indicator of the popular vote.
  • Using the data from the CNN Poll of Polls as a comparison metric, HYPOTHETICALLY, let’s assume that CNN Poll of Polls represents “truth”, we can apply straight forward regression to determine if the Advocacy metric for Obama is statistically related to the Poll of Polls data.
  • Regression shows that Obama’s Online Promoter™ score is statistically significant in linkage to the CNN’s poll of Polls results at > 98%

  • Furthermore, we can look to see if perhaps MQ’s results might lead the traditional polling methods; the relation appears strongest at 4-days leading.

The strongest statistical link from Obama’s Online Promoter™ Score to the CNN Poll of Poll’s results appears when we make Obama’s

OPS a 4-day leading indicator of the Poll of Polls

Obviously this detailed post may raise even more questions – feel free to post them in the comments section.



Hertz #1 By a Mile – Thanks Walter!

October 1, 2008

On Friday afternoon I returned to the Hertz LAX location at 12:30 PM with 1 hour until my flight left. If I didn’t make the flight, I would be stuck at LAX for at least 6 hours. To make things worse, I was flying on United – which at LAX is the last of 9 stops that the Hertz bus makes.

So I got out of the car and started sprinting toward the bus. Someone called out “Sir, Sir”. I turned around, thinking someone wanted to give me a receipt when a Hertz employee named Walter told me to get back in the car so he could drive me around to United.

We had a nice chat and Walter told me that LAX has a policy of trying to help disabled people, families and those running really late (like me) get to the terminal quickly.

Well, I made my plane and got home to see my family that night thanks to the initiative and efforts of Walter at LAX. This is a great example of one person going above and beyond the call of duty to help someone – and I definitely appreciate it.

Please pass on my thanks to Walter and to his supervisor.

Tom O’Brien
Hertz Fan Forevermore