University of Iowa Professors Create More Prompt Polling Website

Published: Jan. 30, 2016 at 10:54 PM CST
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When figuring out who's ahead in the race for the White House, sometimes polls just aren't fast enough.

That's one of the reasons three University of Iowa professors created

The group spent at least two years designing the site's algorithms which search social media and find the top trending stories, tweets and more about the ten highest polling candidates.

"Fifty percent of Americans use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to get information about politics," said Asst. UI Professor M. Zubair Shafiq, a creator and part of the Computer Science Department.

One of the key features, two charts on the site's main page.

The webpage analyzes Twitter to find which Republicans and Democrats have the highest number of positive tweets, then plots that data on the graphs.

The data is updated daily.

Professor Shafiq said it gives site visitors a look at the nation's political pulse faster than many polls, which can take a week or more to produce results.

"Polling data is offline," he said. "It is slow. It is cumbersome. Polling companies will tell you that they cannot repeat the process everyday. Our algorithms do an objective and unbiased analysis and try to present the top news top tweets and top sentiment summary of different candidates."

The site has been live for a couple weeks. Professor Shafiq said it'll be up through the election. Check it out with the link above.