[Air-L] Quantifying Political Alignment

Michael Conover midconov at indiana.edu
Mon Nov 22 07:36:23 PST 2010

Our research group (made up of physicists and computer scientists) needs to
evaluate the political content of short pieces of text.  To this end we've
constructed a rubric for classification, ranging from strong left, lean
left, and neutral, to lean right, strong right, and unclassifiable.  While
the criteria of the rubric are rather clear cut (a 'strong' classified
sentence would contain attacks on a person or group's character, hyperbolic
language, or intense / fanatical expressions of support for an issue), we
all suspect that this is a solved problem.

I've heard this referred to by political scientists as 'coding' text, and it
definitely falls within the domain of qualitative content analysis, but I'm
yet to find anything specifically on evaluating political text.  This in
mind, can anyone point me towards an established metric for evaluating the
political content of bodies of text?

Thanks kindly,
Michael Conover

More information about the Air-L mailing list