UK General Election Day 16 Twitter Analysis

Hello there, and lets kick off today’s analysis by looking at the Top 10 Word Chart:


As you might guess, with the flurry of manifestos that were launched yesterday, (see later)that word leads the chart today. However the rest of the words don’t settle on a particular policy, it just makes it clear that the general “buzz” around the election stream was regarding the launches.


The hashtag chart is interesting again today as #UKIP split the SNP tags, though #LIBDEMMANIFESTO just edges out #UKIPMANIFESTO in the chart. #REGISTERTOVOTE is still in the chart at number 9 and #SNPOUT makes it’s first appearance in the chart at at number 10. #VOTESNP only outnumbered the #SNPOUT tag by 7:1, the lowest it’s been in the campaign, by some considerable margin. #COSPLAY hits the charts at number 5.

#COSPLAY is a portmanteau of the words costume play, and is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea. With regard to #GE2015, the tag took off after this post:

Resulted in this picture featuring heavily on the stream:

Just outside of the chart, people are still talking about the Tory’s #RIGHTTOBUY scheme at number 14. #YOUTALKTHEYLISTEN, a Guardian tag promoting dialog with the parties, is at number 16 after focussing on the climate, for much of yesterday. The ever important #NHS is at number 18.


The LibDems lead the chart after the launch of their manifesto yesterday. @Kibooki makes an appearance at number 5 after posting the #cosplay pic. Plaid, UKIP (@fight4uk), Labour and the SNP all get a mention, no sign of the Greens, nor the Tories.


The zeitgeist gives a stark reminder to politicians how little they matter. On the day when 4 parties launched a manifesto of one kind or another, all any one could talk about was a picture of the leaders dressed as StarWars characters. With the Kibooki post taking up positions 1 – 6 and 10. Smile

The Libdems did get a look in at number 7 and “manifesto launch” made it to number 8. Let’s see how the zeitgeist covered what else was happening in the election:

As we spoke about earlier the Liberal Democrat Party launched its manifesto, pledging an extra £2.5bn for England’s education budget; although no one seemed that bothered about it “PROTECT EDUCATION BUDGET” was the farthest up the chart at 377.

UKIP launched its manifesto, which included a commitment to protect the defence budget. Defence wasn’t mentioned but “UKIP GE2015 MANIFESTO” made number 21 in the chart.

Labour also published what it called its women’s manifesto, this wasn’t mentioned at all in the top 2,000 trigrams.

Nick Clegg said no party would win an outright election victory and warned voters they face a choice between the Lib Dems, the SNP and UKIP over who holds the balance of power; “WIN OUTRIGHT NICK” appears at number 13 in the chart.

UKIP said it would make working people better off through a “low-tax revolution”. “PLEDGES LOW-TAX REVOLUTION” is in at number 36.

Working grandparents could share unpaid parental leave under plans being launched by the Labour Party as part of its women’s manifesto; this was not mentioned.

In an interview with the BBC’s Evan Davis, David Cameron says accusations that the Conservatives are “the party of the rich” make him “more angry than almost anything else”. “MAKES REALLY ANGRY” hits the chart at 1,465

The SDLP has launched its manifesto , in which it calls for a prosperity process for Northern Ireland to expand its private sector. “SDLP LAUNCHES GE2015” is in at 230 in the chart.

Well that’s it for today, ‘til next time, keep crunching those numbers. Smile


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UK General Election Day 15 Twitter Analysis

Well I guess it had to happen one day, and that day has come:


A party policy has come to dominate the most frequently tweeted words list, and that policy, as you can see, is the Tory manifesto pledge to give housing association tenants the right to buy their properties. It has pushed everything else off of the chart.


The topic continues to do well when looking at the hashtag chart too, managing to split the #VoteSNP and #SNP tags, pushing the latter down to 4th place.

Related tags, just outside the top 10, were #ToryManifesto at 14 and #UKHousing at 18.

Away from that story, #RegisterToVote is still doing well at number 12, #IndyRef is at 22 whilst #NHS has fallen to 25.


The story’s domination doesn’t extend to the popular accounts chart, save the inclusion of @Shelter at number 10, I’m sure they had plenty to say on the topic of selling social housing. Having said that, we see the accounts of David Cameron and the Conservatives riding higher in the chart than they have done previously.


The right to buy announcement, and the chatter about it, has pushed the SNP agenda right off the trigrams chart. In fact, there’s nothing overtly on the SNP agenda in the top 100 trigrams.

This announcement dominates the chatter today, but let’s see how the other parties got on:

The Tories also announced that they were the party of the “Working people”, this was mentioned 10 times, the highest at 61 with “PARTY WORKING PEOPLE”.

The Green Party launched their manifesto with promises of action to combat climate change. This was mentioned 5 times with “CLIMATE CHANGE GE2015” at 26. They also promised to improve public services, getting “PUBLIC SERVICES GE2015” to number 1,877.

The Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, clashed with the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, on austerity politics. This did not register in the top 2,000 trigrams.

Apart from this, nothing much happened, the other parties lost the day reacting to the Tory’s announcements.

That wraps it up for today. Until next time, keep crunching those numbers! Smile

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Social Graphs – A Day in The Life of GE2015

Sometimes a picture paints a thousands words, and that’s as true in data science as it is in anything else. In this post I want to capture a day (Sunday 12 April 2015) in the life of the General Election – namely the social graphs around key topics of the day.

The actual graphs themselves are huge and are not practical for a blog post, so I’ve taken screen captures of them. If any one is interested in seeing the full graphs, then contact me and I can arrange to make them available to you.

In the pictures, themselves, the edges (Twitter accounts) are too small to be seen, but the vertices (the lines between the edges) give an idea of the volume and direction of information flow. I also analysed the content of each tweet and colour each vertex with a party appropriate colour, to show which party is the subject of the the tweet.

Below is the full graph for the day:


You can see, at the top and the bottom of the graph, numerous accounts having little conversations amongst themselves, and in the middle, the majority of activity directed towards the main parties. Notice the dominance of the blue (Tory) and yellow (SNP) vertices, showing that conversations about the SNP and the Tories dominated the GE2015 stream, on that day. (The SNP generally dominate; whilst the Tory chancellor made a less that stellar appearance on a Sunday politics show).

Let’s go on to explore a few topics, firstly the #VoteSNP tag:


The #VoteSNP tag is at the centre of the round ball. Notice there are a good number of tweets with Labour as the subject hitting that tag. The edge on the right, with all the blue vertices heading into it, is the account of Jim Murphy, leader of Scottish Labour. I believe this reflects the attack on his party, by the SNP, as being “RedTories”.

By way of contrast, here is the #VoteLabour tag:


As you can see, in contrast to the #VoteSNP tag, the Labour tag is really an echo chamber, with Labour dominated subjects; this may seem intuitive, as these tweets are all tagged with #VoteLabour after all, but there is much less diversity of subject here than there is with the #VoteSNP tag.

Let’s look at the counter tag, #SNPOut:


The tag occupies the larger circle, in the centre of the image. We can see mainly SNP and Labour orientated vertices heading into it, as we would expect as Labour and the SNP are the two main parties in Scotland. The smaller clique, in the lower right, is centred around UKIP; it’s not immediately obvious what that would be about and it bears closer analysis.

Talking of UKIP, let’s take a look at their social graph:


As you would expect, #UKIP is the big edge in the middle. Surprisingly, as most people associate UKIP and the Tories as being similar, as they are both right of centre parties, there is not much blue to be seen on this graph, it is mainly purple (UKIP) and red (Labour) with a little smattering of the other parties.

Let’s look at a cross party issue, the #NHS:


This is, perhaps, the most interesting social graph. The first thing to notice is that it’s all blue and red, as the two “big beasts” of the election duke it out over the NHS.

Another interesting fact is that the graph is devoid of any yellow (SNP). The NHS is devolved in Scotland and so any failings therein lie squarely at the door of the SNP, consequently, they have not mentioned it much in this campaign.

#NHS occupies the large edge in the middle of the graph, the satellite edges are mainly related to Osborne’s, less than stellar, appearance on the Marr Show.

The SNP took a bit of a beating at the start of the week, and when that a happens it’s never long before the issue of independence raises it’s head, so let’s take a look at the social graph for the #IndyRef tag:


The #IndyRef tag is the edge on the left, with political views of all colours represented. The edge on the right is the #SNP tag (in relation to #IndyRef), it’s much more of an echo chamber.

Well that concludes this post, remember that these graphs were generated to give you a snap shot, in pictures, of a single day in the campaign, no inference other than that can and should be drawn from this data.

Until next time, keep crunching those number! Smile

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UK General Election Day 14 Twitter Analysis

Looking at the Top 10 Word Chart, it looks like the dominant story is going to be future cuts and the confusion around Labour’s stance on, to what extent those will be felt in Scotland:


First day where we’ve seen the SNP slide off of this chart, though I’m not sure that’s good news for Labour as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on their manifesto launch day by not being clear that Scotland would have to shoulder it’s fair share of the cuts in the next parliament.


The Labour manifesto launch makes a splash on the hashtag chart today, along with the campaign to get people registered to vote ahead of the General Election. The NHS hangs in there, just making the chart, whilst the tag for the BBC2 day time show Victoria Live makes an appears after their election debate.


The Electoral Commission push the SNP off of top spot with their campaign to ensure that everyone, who needs to be, is registered to vote. Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. The group set up to ensure democracy is far better, than any party, at ensuring their voice is heard by the electorate. Smile


Well there’s a first in the campaign, not a single SNP story in the zeitgeist today. But I’m sure the SNP won’t be worried, as the the story that dominates is one of ensuring every one is registered to vote; a topic of cross party importance, and hence why it carries the day.

You have to drop down to position 15 to find an SNP story, and it’s one of them challenging Labour over the confusion of cuts in Scotland, “EXPLAIN CUTS CONFUSION” is the trigram involved.

At number 16 comes a further attack from the SNP on Labour as Jim Murphy turns down an opportunity to clear up the confusion: “TURNED DOWN SCOTLANDTONIGHT”.

Let’s find out how the other parties got on:

Labour launched their manifesto and “LABOUR ‘S MANIFESTO” hits the chart at 61.

The Conservatives extend the right to buy scheme but you have to go to number 627 to find “RIGHT BUY 1.3M”.

The LibDems say no coalition with the Tories if they press ahead with 12Bn of welfare cuts, getting “WELFARE CUTS NICK” into the number 329 spot.

The Lib Dems launch a “five point plan” aimed at consumers and commuters, this doesn’t register on the chart of top 2,000 trigrams.

The Greens unveiled their national campaign poster , saying the time for “half measures” was over. This didn’t register on the chart.

The leader of UKIP has encouraged people to vote tactically in the election. This also failed to register.

That wraps it up for today, until next time, keep crunching those numbers! Smile

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UK General Election Day 13 Twitter Analysis

Hello and welcome to a Twitter analysis of day 13 of the election. Let’s jump in and have a look at the word frequency chart:


“SNP” and “Labour” still neck and neck at the top of the chart as they continue to duke it out over FFA. “Tax” hits the number 4 spot as the Tories plans on inheritance tax played out during the day. “Scotland” at number 7 reminds us that the #GE2015 stream is dominated by the “CyberNats” (for reasons previously mentioned) and their agenda is to the fore. “Tories” are still hanging in there in 8th spot and the other parties are no shows.


“#VoteSNP” way out in the lead again today (for reasons previously explored) “#BBCSP” tag riding high at number 3 after the mauling Sturgeon took on the show and “#Indyref” taking number 6. This tag always increases in popularity as the SNP take a beating on TV. “#Marr” and “#NHS” take numbers 7 and 8 as Osborne struggles to answer Marr’s questions on his Sunday morning show.

A few interesting tags outside of the top 10, are “#ProjectFear2”, demonstrating the “CyberNats” inability to see any challenge to SNP policy as anything other than an “establishment” plot to scare Scots away from independence. Surprised to see “#HS2” at number 25, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of people talking about that. “#Trident” has slipped down to 42, as the discussion moves away from renewal.


Accounts of the SNP and Labour, both official and supporters, dominate the chart today as those two continue to fight over FFA and other policies. There’s a real knife fight going on between those two in Scotland right now, and no where is that more ably illustrated than on the Twitter stream.


There’s no surprise that Sturgeon’s battle on the Sunday Politics Show tops the daily  zeitgeist, but what is surprising is that the claims by Mohammad Shoaib, that the SNP may be institutionally racist, dominate the rest of the chart. This is the first time in the campaign that a negative story about the SNP has dominated the zeitgeist.

But how did the other parties fair?

Labour previews it’s manifesto launch, promising no more borrowing in order to fund it’s pledges. This does not register in the top 2,000 phrases. All mentions of manifesto are still tied to the SNP’s earlier launch of their “Families’ Manifesto”.

Tories unveil their plans to cut inheritance tax. This is mentioned 24 times and hits a peak at number 50, with: “INHERITANCE TAX PLANS”.

The Greens say they want a top rate of tax of 60%. This is mentioned 28 times with, “PLANS 60 TAX” at number 44.

The LibDems set out plans to eliminate the deficit by 2017/18. This was not mentioned in the top 2,000 phrases.

Well that’s all for this post, ‘til next time, keep crunching those numbers. Smile

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UK General Election Day 12 Twitter Analysis

As Labour continue to press home their attack on the SNP, let’s see how that is reflected on the election stream.


“Labour” continues to be the most used word on the election stream, not only pushing “SNP” off of the top spot, but relegating them to 10th place. Talk around the Tory policy of investment in the NHS means it’s in today’s number 3 slot.


Looking at the hashtags now, we see #”UKIP” hitting the number 3 spot, making them more popular than they have been so far in the campaign. “#NHS” at number 5 shows how important it is to all parties in this election. A surprise entry at number 7 for “#Conservatives”, first time that tag has made the chart top 10. Followed by “#IndyRef” at number 8, reminding us that when the SNP come under attack the question of independence is never far from the minds of their supporters.

“#Plaid15” sits just outside the top 10 at number 12. Followed by “#RedTories” at number 13; the highest position that tag has achieved as the “CyberNats” fight back against Labour’s challenge of SNP economic policy. “#ProjectFear2” hits the number 20 spot as “CyberNats” try to portray the attack as lies designed by the “establishment” to scare Scots away from independence.


The surprising fact of this chart is that “@LibDems” have split the SNP dominance. The rest is a pretty even split amongst the parties, the pundits and the “CyberNats”.


The news that the SNP launched their families’ manifesto leads our zeitgeist chart today. The rest of the chart is filled with the “CyberNats” counter attack on Labour’s challenge over FFA.

Let’s see how the other parties faired:

Labour were talking about providing one-on-one midwife care for new mothers. This policy did not appear in the top 2,000 phrases.

The LibDems promised a new bill to protect people’s rights online. “DIGITAL RIGHTS BILL” appears 15 times, the highest at number 15.

These last two items demonstrate clearly how “Twitter is not the real world”;  please remember this when reading my posts, these are analysis of the the Twittersphere and probably do not reflect attitudes of voters “in the real world”. Hence the last two paragraphs, where Labour offer one on one midwife care for new mothers and no one is interested, where the LibDems offer a “digital bill of rights” and that hits number 15 in the chart.

The Tories said they’d raise the threshold on inheritance tax, taking most family homes out of the tax bracket. This was mentioned 6 times, with “RAISE INHERITANCE TAX” at number 378. It was a late breaking story though and there may be more on this tomorrow.

Labour said it was going to slap bigger fines on tax avoiders. This was not mentioned in the Zeitgeist but, again, it was a late breaking story and may spill over into tomorrow.

Well that’s all for this post, until next time, keep crunching those numbers! Smile

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UK General Election Day 11 Twitter Analysis

Let’s jump right into today’s analysis by looking at the most frequently used word chart:


“Labour” top the word chart after their attack on the SNP over the £7.6Bn cost of Full Fiscal Autonomy. More on this later.

Some interesting words, outside of the top 10, were “Hashflags” at position 25 (more about those here). “Cuts” appears at number 28 after Labour pushed the SNP on how they’d pay for FFA, and the words “Desperate”, “Fears” and “Smears” – appearing at positions 38, 39 and 40 respectively, showed how the SNP supporters dealt with that. More on this interesting aspect of the “CyberNats” later.


Oh the hashtag chart is very interesting today! Note the tag “IndyRef” at position 3. Every time the SNP is challenged on a policy, the popularity of this hashtag rises. Note also the tag “ProjectFear2” at number 7. This is how the “CyberNats” dealt with any challenges made to the SNP’s assertions – whether they were about oil, the Pound or EU membership – during the referendum campaign. The “CyberNats” merely branded the challenges as “ProjectFear” claiming they were simply “lies” by the “No” side to scare voters away from voting “Yes”.

This helped the SNP, as once this idea was floated and became popular, it allowed Salmond to make the same claim and avoid answering the challenges.

It’s clear from this chart, that the “CyberNats” are reusing this tactic, under the guise of “ProjectFear2”, to classify any challenge (in this case about the £7.6Bn cost of FFA) as simply a “lie” from Labour. It will be interesting to see if Sturgeon resists the temptation that Salmond couldn’t, and answers the questions directly, or if she chooses to use “ProjectFear2” as a shield.


“TwitterUK” hits number 3 in the chart after the introduction of the hashflags for political parties. Labour accounts are well represented after their challenge on FFA; as are a couple of BBC accounts, after covering the story. Robert Peston will be grateful to see his account at a lowly 1,234 after what happened to the BBC’s Nick Robinson when he challenged the SNP. Still, it’s early in the story yet… Smile


In the zeitgeist, we see the instinctive reaction to Labour’s challenge on FFA, by the “CyberNats”. Firstly, there is an upsurge in calls for independence, followed by writing off the challenge as “lies, smears and ProjectFear2”.

The “CyberNats” have a real cognitive dissonance when it comes to anyone challenging the official party line. Unlike supporters of all the other parties, they are unable to see the challenge in any way other than a concerted campaign by the “establishment” to instil fear of independence into the hearts of the Scots. This, despite the fact that the Westminster election has no bearing on the issue of independence whatsoever.

Now let’s take a look at what the other parties had to offer yesterday.

The Tories said they’d spend an extra 8Bn on the NHS. The “NHS” is mentioned 18 times, the highest position at 195 with “PLANS NHS INVESTMENT”.

The Tories also pledged to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1M. This was not mentioned in the zeitgeist.

The LibDems promised help for renters. The word “rent” appears 11 times, the highest “LIBDEMS HELP RENT” at 154.

Well that’s all for this post, until next time, keep crunching those numbers. Smile

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