Why The SNP is Winning GE2015 on Twitter

It should be no competition. They should be annihilated by the well funded, well disciplined, well oiled machines that are the press offices of the main parties in the UK. However, if you’ve been following my daily analysis, you will know that the SNP are beating the main parties, day in and day out. In this blog post we’ll take a look at why.

The main reason why the SNP are winning is this. Each of the three main parties have three accounts each; there’s the national account, a Scottish account and a press account. On top of that there are all the candidates, all the pundits and all the supporters. In short, a myriad of information outlets that you, as an interested party, would have to follow to get all the news.

Frankly that’s impossible; luckily this is a solved problem for you. Since the dawn of Twitter this has been an issue for large events and the problem has been solved by the use of hashtags. Instead of trying to follow every possible news outlet, you simply follow the hashtag for the event and everyone who wants you to read their news, posts on that tag. Simples.

The tags for the 2015 UK general election are #GE2015 and #GE15.

The simple answer to why the SNP are winning on Twitter is that they and, possibly more importantly, their supporters, have better hashtag discipline that the main parties. Let’s take a look.

To analyse this, I took a sample of the last 100 posts of the SNP and the other three main parties. This is what I found:

Examining the account of the SNP versus the main parties, and using the SNP as the standard, we’ll first look at a chart showing whether or not posts are tagged:


Here we can see that 86% of all posts are tagged. Next let’s examine how those posts are tagged:


Here we can see that 44% of all the post from the SNP are tagged with the election tag, and 48% are tagged with the instruction “VoteSNP”. That is a crystal clear message.

Now let’s compare that with the other parties, starting with the Tories:


Here we see that the Tories are actually doing pretty well, only a maximum of 12% of their posts are untagged, compared to 14% of the SNP’s, and only 9% of posts coming from the press office. So, how are these posts tagged?


And there’s the problem, only 1% of the posts made by the press office and by the Scottish Tories are tagged for the election stream, and none from the Conservatives national account are tagged. Let’s just pause for a second and let that sink in: the press office, who’s sole purpose is to broadcast the Tory’s election messages, only tag 1% of their posts for the stream. The SNP tag 44 times as many.

Let’s see if the Lib Dems can do any better:


Here the press office do slightly better than the SNP, with 88% tagged, but almost a quarter of the output from the main LibDem account isn’t tagged at all!


Here the LibDems main account does well, where they bother to tag a post, they do tag it with the stream tag 35% of the time, if they’d just tag more often they’d be doing really well. Again, look at the press office though; remember their only job is to “get the word out”; they’re only tagging 6% of their posts with the stream tag.

How do Labour fair? They are in a knife fight with the SNP in Scotland, surely they are pulling out all the stops on Twitter to win every seat they can, right?


The short answer is they are appalling! In Scotland, where it really matters, almost a quarter of their posts are not tagged at all! And look at the press office; more than a third of their posts are wasted as they are not tagged!

So, of the few posts the Labour accounts do deem to tag, how do they tag them?


Badly is the answer. In Scotland, where the SNP are predicted to all but wipe them out, they tag only 1% of their tweets to the stream, versus 44% for the SNP, and they tag only 5% of them with “VoteLabour” versus 48% tagged “VoteSNP” by the SNP.

Those of you who are responsible for the social media output of the main parties need to take a long hard look at yourselves. It’s day 10 of the campaign and these numbers are woeful. If you don’t want to cede the social media ground to the SNP you have to get in the game, and you have to do it fast. Tighten up on your tagging discipline now!

As for the SNP, you are winning, but even you have room for improvement. 14% of your posts are untagged and only 44% are tagged to the stream, you could do to tighten up as well.

I hope you’ve found this blog post interesting, that’s all for now, ‘til next time, keep crunching those numbers. Smile

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

5 Responses to Why The SNP is Winning GE2015 on Twitter

  1. Pingback: UK General Election Day 9 Twitter Analysis | Gary Short

  2. Pingback: UK General Election Day 10 Twitter Analysis | Gary Short

  3. Pingback: Supporters Are The Engine of SNP Success | Gary Short

  4. Pingback: UK General Election Day 13 Twitter Analysis | Gary Short

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s