Obama's Online Buzz Also Goes Flat

Like his polls, Obama's online buzz tanks.

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The Internet buzz about President Obama, who once had the Web cooing over his inspiring promises of hope and change, has gone flat, deflated by his poor polls, the nation's debt and his drab presidency, according to a firm that mines 200 million blogs, tweets, message boards and social media for Obama buzz.

[See political cartoons about President Obama.]

Worse: While the words "hope" and "change" used to be associated with Obama, now the dominant words are "challenge," "disapprove," and "crisis," according to Zeta Interactive, the digital marketing firm that just did its "Zeta Buzz" report on Obama and the debt crisis for Washington Whispers. [See political cartoons on the economy.]

In a stunning drop in popularity that mirrors the president's fall in approval polls to his lowest point ever, Zeta CEO Al DiGuido tells Whispers, "President Obama has reached a defining moment in his presidency; The president's positive tonal ranking has sunk to its lowest level, currently at 41% positive ranking." Obama's online negative tone in those 200 million blogs and websites is 59 percent negative.

Zeta reviewed the fight over the debt crisis and found that Obama's online buzz sank. At the same time, House Speaker John Boehner's mentions on the internet surged into positive territory. Bohener's "positive tone" was 73 percent at a time he was balking at efforts by Obama to put tax increases into the deal to raise the debt ceiling. [See a slide show of who's in and out for the GOP in 2012.]

But DiGuido suggests that nobody was a winner in the debate. He said that most of the writing and mentions on the debt deal on the internet has a wait and see feel. "Overall reaction to the recent debt ceiling plan is one of fear and uncertainty, with the words 'not sure,' 'uncertain,' "scary,' 'hope' and 'fear' among the most popular being used to describe the plan," said Zeta's report to Whispers.

Added DiGuido, "The data points to a huge hill to climb in bringing confidence back to the consumer market." [Check out our editorial cartoons on the GOP.]

Here are the highlights of the report from Zeta:

  • "Over the past week, buzz surrounding the U.S. government has been split pretty evenly among three topics: (1) the debt ceiling plan, (2) S&P credit downgrade, and (3) unemployment. These three topics are capturing more than 95 percent of the total volume buzz surrounding the U.S. Government over the past week."
  • "Tonal buzz surrounding the debt ceiling plan is primarily neutral, with most people taking a 'wait and see' approach. Of the buzz surrounding the plan, an overwhelming 75 percent was neutral in tone (neither positive nor negative). Of the remaining 25 percent where tone was detected, 54 percent was positive and 46 percent was negative."
  • "Overall reaction to the recent debt ceiling plan is one of fear and uncertainty, with the words 'not sure,' 'uncertain,' 'scary,' 'hope' and 'fear' among the most popular being used to describe the plan."
  • "Obama buzz is currently at just 41 percent positive. This is the lowest tonal ranking Obama has received in any given one month period since he first was elected President in 2008."
  • "Looking at online buzz surrounding Obama, it is evident that people consider this stage of his Presidency the most critical that he's been faced with since taking over the office. For example, among the most popular words and phrases used to describe Obama online over the past month are 'challenge,' 'disapprove/disapproval.' 'critical,' 'crisis.' 'debt ceiling' and 'decisions.'"
  • "Between Obama and Boehner, however, Obama is dominating the volume buzz race, currently generating 97 percent of the overall amount of posts between the two politicians online as of this month."
  • "Buzz surrounding John Boehner is currently well ahead of Obama's from a tonal perspective, with Boehner generating a 73 percent positive tonal ranking, a 32 percent improvement over that of President Obama."
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