UK General Election Day 4 Twitter Analysis

Let’s kick off our analysis of the Twitter stream for day 4 of the election campaign by taking a look at the top 10 most popular words, by frequency. As always, all graph legends show the data in frequency order, left to right, top to bottom, most frequent first.


As you can see, there is a pretty even spread of frequency amongst the top 10 words, all pointing towards the story that dominated this day of campaigning; namely that Nicola Sturgeon is alleged to have told the French Ambassador that she would prefer to see David Cameron returned as Prime Minister. (

Something that might be of concern to the other parties is that, once again, the SNP dominate the top 10 words, with their policies and messages not getting through. Something we’ll talk about later in this post.

The next thing we’ll look at is the top 10 hashtags:


You’ll note that talk of the Leader’s Debate on ITV still dominates the hashtags being quoted, with the SNP accounting for 42% of all hashtags sent on day 4. Note too UKIP account for another 6% of all hashtags sent. The main parties should be concerned that that two of the smaller parties account for almost half of all hashtagged traffic on the election Twitter stream, with Labour, the first of the main parties to make a showing today, only scoring a measly 3% with the Tories managing an even smaller 1%.

Other notable entries on the hashtag chart are the #NHS, the first of the “big election topics”, which makes an appearance at number 14, and #snpout; the movement against independence in Scotland, which holds the number 19 spot; although #votesnp is still 37 times more popular that #snpout.

Let’s move on to mentions of Twitter accounts:


Once more we see this measure dominated by the SNP, with 55% of all traffic being directed to their accounts, with the LibDems – the only other party to make a showing in the top 10 – scoring a lowly 4%.

Turning our attention to the official accounts of the parties:


We can see that the SNP continue to be the party to catch, with traffic to their official account being more that twice the traffic to all the other parties combined.

The domination of the SNP on today’s Twitter stream is complete when we look at the top trigrams within the daily corpus to see that today’s campaign in three words is:

“French Consul General”

In fact the SNP dominate the trigram list. Looking at the top 200 trigrams in the corpus, they roughly breakdown into three sections: firstly, there’s a section talking about the French Ambassador story; secondly, there’s a section talking about how well Nicola did in the leader’s debate; lastly, there’s a section taking about the SNP’s stance towards Trident.

Let’s be clear about what that means. When you write a algorithm to find the most frequent three word groups that appear together, then you look at the top 200 most frequent groupings, you only find groupings describing the SNP, it’s leader, or it’s policies. NO POLICIES OF ANY OTHER PARTY APPEAR IN THE TOP 200.

This is the second day running that this has happened. Now, it could be coincidence that the day after Nicola did very well in the Leader’s Debate, this story breaks leading to SNP news dominating the Twitter feed for two consecutive days. It is also true to say, that it’s not clear at this stage whether the Ambassador story will be good or bad for the SNP. However, what is true, is that even if you remove the story from the trigrams, then the news is still dominated by the SNP’s policies.

What I suspect has happened here, and if I’m right the SNP will continue to “own Twitter” throughout this campaign, is that the “CyberNats”, who cut their teeth campaigning on social media during the 5 years of the Scottish Independence campaign, have simply switched their attention to the 2015 general election.

If that is the case, then the other parties should be very worried indeed. The “CyberNats” are a very well organised, very experienced “force” on social media and the other parties cannot hope to create an organisation to match them in the remaining time of the election campaign. That being the case, they may have to admit that they are battling for second place in the social media stakes.

Analysis of the coming days will be very interesting to see if my suspicions are correct.

Verdict: SNP carry the day.

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

This entry was posted in Data Science, Social Media, Statistics, UKGeneralElection2015 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to UK General Election Day 4 Twitter Analysis

  1. Teechur says:

    With regards to the frequency of the #SNPout hashtag, it may be worth remembering that many of us use it to ridicule the genuine “#SNPout”ers. A simple read of some of them should show this, but how you remove them from the sample is another matter! 😉 good luck.

    • garyshort says:

      Thanks, I was aware of that. :-). I can see both uses of the tag in the trigrams.

    • Ryan says:

      This is also true with Scottish Labour, you’ll find the majority of tweets containing Scottish Labour come from the SNP side.

  2. kininvie says:

    Only thing I’d question is the ‘well-organised’ epithet for cybernats. We’re not organised at all. Most either comment in our own right or pass on interesting stuff from elsewhere. Some act as a news feed – others directly try to influence the debate. But there’s no centralised attempt to control what happens. It’s like a colony of bacteria – we are apt to cluster where there is food – but you can’t call that ‘organisation’ – although it occasionally may give the impression of such.

    • garyshort says:

      I agree there’s no central organisation, but what you describe is certainly self-organisation IMHO and it’s something that you have perfected during the IndyRef campaign.

  3. Paul Garbett says:

    You should make that rather loose definition of ‘organised’ clear then – sloppy wording leads to (sometimes wilful) misinterpretation. Other than that a good analysis & thank you

    • garyshort says:

      I’m happy with my use of the word organised thanks; the “CyberNats” are certainly more organised than disorganised. Your comment provides any clarification if it’s needed.

  4. Gordon Arthur Hunter says:

    Cybernats are more Gestalt, It takes many of them to stand side by side before they take shape or form so organised is not a good description of us,we are more a collective of similar ideas than an organisation.

  5. Pingback: UK General Election 2015 Day by Day Analysis | Gary Short

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