Now that all the parties have their manifestos out, let’s have a look and see what a word and trigram frequency analysis shows us.
Looking at the most common three word collocations, it’s clear that the main message from the Conservatives is one of “steady as she goes”, re-elect us and it’ll be more of the same.
“People” are close to the top of the Conservative manifesto, when looking at the term frequency of the words used, along with “Support”, “Work” and “Plan”. “Help” also makes an appearance and “Tax” is never far away from a governing party’s thoughts.
The Labour Party
Labour seem quite introverted when you examine their trigrams, with the party featuring in 4 out of the top 10 places.
Like the Tories, when you examine the term frequencies of words used, we see that Labour focused on “people” and “work”, with “local” and “support” being popular too.
Much like the Tories, their coalition partners, the message from the LibDems is one of “steady as she goes”.
Whilst their word term frequency makes a lot of “Support”, “Work” and “Local”.
The main message from the SNP’s manifesto seems to be one of working across the UK regardless of them being a party for whom only Scots can vote.
When you look at the frequency of words used, we see a picture of “Scotland” and party before “UK” and “people”. Having said that, this is a common theme amongst the nationalist parties, as we shall see.
Looking at the trigrams for Plaid we see that, like the SNP, they are very focused on party and country.
The idea of nationalist parties being about country and party before people is further supported when we have a look at the term frequencies for the words used in the manifesto.
Looking at the trigrams for UKIP it can be seen that they demonstrate the characteristics of a nationalist party. Like The SNP and Plaid Cymru they are obsessed by the idea of nationhood, in this case the nation of UK outside of the EU.
Again, when we examine the word frequencies, we can see that UKIP value party and country above people, a nationalist party trait, as we’ve seen. Looking at this election’s crop of manifestos, there is evidence to support the idea that UKIP is the UK’s third nationalist party.
The Green Party
The message from the Green Party’s trigrams is that we all have to act for the common good.
Looking at the word frequencies, we can see that “People” are important to the Greens, as is doing things at a “Local” level.
Now that we’ve looked at the party’s manifestos in general, let’s look at how well they did at talking about the issues that voters were interested in. According to a recent BBC survey, the top 5 topics that voters are interested in are: the NHS; the economy; immigration; welfare and jobs.
To calculate how well each of the parties talked about the issues, I took the term frequency of each topic, then normalised the count for the number of “non stop” words in the party’s manifesto. The results are as follows:
The above graph shows how well the parties did on a topic by topic basis, but it’s hard to see who came out on top. To discover that, we can sum the normalised scores for each topic, like so:
Now we can see that the Tories talked more often about the issues that the voters were interested in, whilst the SNP talked least about them.
Well that’s all for this post, until next time, keep crunching those numbers!