Love and Hate During Political Compaigns in Social Networks

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Social networks have become central for public debate. However, this debate occurs, in many cases, in a polarized and socially fragmented way. The importance of a specific type of polarization marked by the expression of emotions (affective polarization) has recently been pointed out. This work seeks to analyze affective polarization through the study of opinions shared by users of Twitter during competitive events such as a political election (United States electoral campaign, 2016). To operationalize the affective polarization we propose, first, to consider the relationship between the user opinions about each contender. This approach allows us to describe what is the opinion of the supporters of one contender about the rest of them. Secondly, we combine sentiment analysis techniques, new diagrams describing graphically the tension between the positive and negative opinions, and numerical measurements obtained employing techniques borrowed from physics such as the gravity centers to identify and measure affective dispositions of users participating in this discussion. In summary, a way of measuring an emergent and central type of polarization in competitive contexts is proposed here.