This is the election analysis for Sunday April 19 2015. Let’s get started with the hashtag chart:
Sunday mornings in the UK are given over to politics on the main TV channels, and as you can see from the tag chart, both the SNP and the Conservatives appeared on the main program, The Marr Show.
Labour and the SNP lead the chart, this is in line with the trend we’ve been seeing over the last few days, whereby the chatter is all concentrated around these two parties. #RegisterToVote is still doing well ahead of today’s deadline to register for the election.
#VoteConservative gains in popularity and hits our chart at number 10. The polls have been pretty stagnant with neither the Tories or Labour managing to gain any sort of lead on the other, outside the pollster’s margin of error. The last couple of days have seen a trend in popularity for the Tories tag, it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues and, if so, if it filters through to the polls.
#SNPOut is 7 in our chart and continues to grow in popularity. The ratio of #VoteSNP tweets to #SNPOut tweets is now 5:1, the lowest it’s ever been, and down from a high of 54:1
Outside of the chart #IndyRef continues its popular trend at number 16, whilst #The45 slumps to 70 and #Trident is down at 56.
After appearing on the Marr Show both Sturgeon’s and Cameron’s accounts are popular in the chart, as is the Marr Show account itself. The account of Stewart Hosie makes an appearance after he said, on a news interview, that the SNP would never vote for Trident.
The image of tweets by location, continues to show Labour dominating the chatter, followed by the SNP, with a little splattering of the other parties mixed in. Again, the trend is for the SNP support to be concentrated in the Central Belt of Scotland.
As you can see from the charts above, the trend continues to be that Labour are the most talked about party in every hour of the day. But we have to look at the Zeitgeist below to find out what they were saying.
Urging people to register to vote, before today’s deadline, tops the chart; after that, all the chatter is about how Cameron refused to share a sofa with Sturgeon on the Marr Show.
This was not the most interesting part of the show, from a data science view point however. As a data scientist, the most interesting part, for me, was when the host, Andrew Marr, quizzed the Prime Minister about the death of soldier, David Clapson. David died last year of diabetic ketoacidosis. At the time of his death, his job seeker benefits had been stopped due to him missing mandatory meetings with his advisor. He had no electricity and his medication had to be refrigerated. At the time, the media spun this story as “Callous Government benefit sanctions resulted in the death of a soldier”.
This tragic story is interesting from a data science point of view. Firstly, the spin put on this by the media doesn’t fit the facts. Whilst it is true that benefits are sanctioned for missed meetings, Clapson would have been informed of this in advance. Secondly, in the UK utility companies will not cut off your electricity supply if you are deemed to be vulnerable. Having diabetes put Clapson firmly in this category. Thirdly, his sister said in an interview that he may have stopped taking the drugs because he had become depressed with this situation.
So despite a very easy fact check, pointing to a more probable reason for this poor man’s death, the BBC still decided to couch the question, to the PM, in terms of Clapson’s death being directly caused by the stopping of his benefits.
With the interview of the PM following directly after the interview with Sturgeon, and therefore sure to have a large SNP audience, is it possible that the BBC wanted to show that they were not biased towards the establishment, given what happened to the BBC’s Nick Robinson during the referendum debate? If this is not the case, what else would have prompted the BBC to have posed the question in such inflammatory terms? This question bears further research, but not by me, as it is outwith the scope of this Twitter analysis.
The second reason that this is interesting from a data science point of view, is that when you analyse the trigrams, you find that the plight of this soldier is not mentioned at all. The BBC gave ample ammunition to the political opponents of the government (mainly the SNP in this stream), but they seemed to have missed it; preferring instead to focus on Sturgeon, how well she performed, and the fact that Cameron would not share a sofa with her.
Now it’s time to look at the other election news and to see how it played out on Twitter.
David Cameron outlined Lloyds share sale plan, prompting “CHEAP LLOYDS SHARES” at 235. He also warned against SNP influence in UK government, which hit 1,276 with “SCOTLAND INFLUENCES UK”.
Nicola Sturgeon ruled out any deal with the Conservatives during her Andrew Marr Show appearance, “RULE OUT DEAL” makes it in at 143.
Lib Dem Vince Cable said it would be difficult to work with either Labour or the Conservatives, but they would; this did not register with on the top 2,000 trigrams.
Labour focused on the NHS, saying the Conservatives would cut the number of nurses in England, prompting “AXE 2,000 NURSES” at 759.
Nicola Sturgeon said SNP MPs would be a “constructive” force at Westminster after the election, dismissing David Cameron’s claim that they would be “coming to Westminster to break up our country” – and a Labour claim that the Tories and SNP wanted each other to do well, this lead to “COME WESTMINSTER CONTRIBUTE” at 268.
Well that’s all for today, until next time, keep crunching those numbers!