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The United States of Elon Musk: Sentiment and Search Data Analysis

by Josh Howarth
July 14, 2022

In April 2022, Elon Musk announced he was buying Twitter for $44 billion. This acquisition re-ignited an ongoing conversation about the billionaire as online users clashed.

Some people praise Musk for his business prowess, having founded PayPal and grown Tesla into the electric car powerhouse it is today. In contrast, others find him problematic, referring to his outspoken nature, previously being called out for "misleading" financial advice by the SEC as just one example.

Now the dust has settled from his initial Twitter takeover news, we’ve undertaken a study reviewing over 78,000 tweets from the last 12 months discussing “Elon Musk”. These tweets were then put through sentiment analysis tools to work out whether the user likes or dislikes him. As well as this, we have collated search data from Google, to see which states Musk has the most people interested in him.

Read below for the full study analyzing the United States of Elon.

Key findings:

  • Hawaiians like Elon Musk the most out of any state, with the highest proportion of positive tweets toward the tech entrepreneur (272 per 1,000 posts).
  • Residents of Delaware are the most likely to feel negatively toward Musk, with 465 tweets per 1,000 expressing their dislike for the man, closely followed by Maine (448).
  • As a national average, America feels more negative (38.2%) than positive (19.2%) toward Elon Musk.
  • Massachusetts residents are the most interested in Elon Musk, with a monthly search volume of 1,069 per 100,000 Googling more information on him, the most of any state.
  • In contrast, the people of Georgia have little interest toward Musk, with only 60 per 100,000 citizens searching for him on Google every month.

Elon Musk makes Hawaii happy, but Delaware despairs

From our analysis of over 78,000 recent tweets about Elon Musk, generally, America does not feel positively toward Elon Musk, with 38.2% of posts being negative and almost half that number (19.2%) being positive toward the tech entrepreneur.

how-does-america-feel-about-elon-musk...

Looking more locally at the data, residents in Hawaii love him the most, with 272 positive tweets per 1,000 being positive (the highest of any state). On the other hand, Delaware has a more negative view of Musk with 465 tweets per 1,000 being negative, the highest frequency in all of the U.S.

Let’s see how this breaks down across the nation in each state.

Which states like Elon Musk the most?

Hawaii tweet their love for Elon Musk the most, with 272 positive tweets for every 1,000 posted, possibly influenced by Space X’s Starlink partnership with Hawaiian Airlines in April 2022. After the Aloha State, Alsaka had the second-most positive tweets (252), followed by Idaho (238). The top ten states that like Elon Musk the most can be seen in the following map graphic:

which-states-like-elon-musk-most-expl...

Which states dislike Elon Musk the most?

Delaware residents tend to tweet more about their dislike toward Musk, at around 465 tweets per 1,000, closely followed by Maine (448) and Oregon (443). See the map where Elon has the most haters below:

which-states-dislike-elon-musk-the-mo...

Which states show the most interest in Elon Musk?

Away from how they feel about the Tesla CEO, we also reviewed how many people were searching for more information on him online. Proportionally to the population, Massachusetts is the most interested in Elon Musk, with 1,069 Google searches made per 100,000 people in the state, the highest in the country. The state of Georgia showed the least interest with only 60 searches made per 100,000 residents.

states-most-interested-in-elon-musk-e...

State Searches per 100k
Massachusetts 1069
New York 1046
New Jersey 1020
Washington 938
Connecticut 933
California 928
Florida 906
Illinois 879
New Hampshire 878
Hawaii 863
Pennsylvania 859
Virginia 857
Nevada 837
Colorado 830
Texas 817
Maryland 815
Utah 806
Arizona 792
Ohio 772
Oregon 765
Rhode Island 762
Michigan 740
Maine 728
Tennessee 707
Vermont 706
Minnesota 706
North Dakota 698
Wisconsin 690
North Carolina 685
Alabama 669
Delaware 661
Missouri 655
Idaho 638
Kansas 620
South Carolina 620
Nebraska 617
Alaska 610
Kentucky 604
Montana 604
Arkansas 595
Indiana 592
Louisiana 587
New Mexico 574
Iowa 570
West Virginia 564
Oklahoma 554
Mississippi 500
Wyoming 498
South Dakota 488
Georgia 60

What do men and women think of Elon Musk?

Our study also analyzed the perception of Elon Musk and how this differs in relation to gender. Where possible we reviewed the difference between men and women and what they say and feel about the tech entrepreneur.

Women were only marginally more likely to tweet more negatively about Elon Musk, with 39.2% of their tweets being negative, compared to 38.1% in men. However, women were also slightly more likely to tweet more positively about Musk (19.3% vs 18.9%).

gender-of-elon-musk-fans-exploding-to...

Overall, men and women seem to like and dislike the tech entrepreneur an almost equal amount, indicating his online fans, and haters, appear to be not separated by gender.

Methodology and sources

We took a dataset of 78,081 tweets from Twitter on 24th June of posts that discussed “Elon Musk” or replied to the @elonmusk account. The exact search terms used for this analysis can be found below. These tweets were than analyzed using a roBERTa-base sentiment analysis tool, created by a Cardiff University’s ‘Research Group in Natural Language Processing’

Tweets were only reviewed if they contained geolocation data placing the user in the U.S. Tweets analyzed were tweeted between June 1st 2021 - June 24th 2022 to reflect recent perceptions.

The Genderize API was used to determine a probability of gender for each Twitter account where this was not stated on their profile. Those accounts where gender was unable to be determined by the algorithm were discounted from the analysis. Those who identify as non-binary were considered based on their Twitter bios (they/them pronouns) but did not make up a large enough proportion of the dataset to compare in this study.

Google search data came directly from Google (Google Ads: Keyword Planner) which supplied the monthly search volume for the term ‘elon musk’ in each state. This data was taken on the 29th June 2022. The monthly search volume from Google was compared to the population of each state, from World Population Review, to get an approximate figure for searches per 100,000 people.