TweetTracker shows Nick Clegg most liked
– Paul Afshar is senior account manager at public relations firm Edelman. The opinions expressed are his own. –
A famous German writer once said “personality is everything”, which could not ring truer for the UK’s General Election, and particularly “likeability” on social media.
With the public, to lesser and greater extents, unbothered by detail of party manifesto commitments, the sturdy Scottishness of Gordon Brown vs. the persuasive tones of David Cameron and, arguably Nick Clegg, act as barometers of voters’ intentions better than their understanding of National Insurance contributions.
Should the party leaders be concerned about their likeability on social media?
Yes, according to Edelman’s TweetTracker tool. On Twitter, with its 2.5 million UK users, personality is everything.
TweetTracker comprehensively assesses personality ratings of the three main party leaders – David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg – on Twitter, giving them an “approval/ disapproval” score, like those used in U.S. Presidential campaigns.
According to TweetTracker, the three party leaders aren’t cutting the mustard with voters on Twitter, with many Twitterers unpersuaded by their pitches.
Twitter users are significantly more negative about Brown, Cameron and Clegg than they are positive, with Nick Clegg the leader with the highest favourability scores on the social media site.
(See the list at bottom of this blog post to match names with numbers in the charts.)
Week 1 of the campaign saw Gordon Brown win the Twitter war by sheer volume of tweets although his negativity ratings have increased since the starting pistol was fired.
The Liberal Democrat leader comes out on top in terms of favourability, and is the only leader of the three to see broadly increasing positive scores.
Perhaps surprisingly, the “gets your goat” award doesn’t go to Gordon Brown, but to David Cameron, with the Conservative leader exciting most negative Tweets. And in the head to head battle, Gordon Brown wins with the average positive scores, closely followed by Cameron and Clegg respectively.
However, Cameron has fought a strong campaign on Twitter, with his negative ratings decreasing over the past two weeks. The Conservative pledge not to raise National Insurance contributions has given the Conservative leader a significant uplift in favourability scores, and has damaged Gordon Brown. And Cameron should make more use of Boris Johnson, with his favourability ratings rising after an appearance last week with the Mayor of London.
The worst nightmare for any party strategist are the ‘election clangers’ (think Prescott’s punch) – and clangers do affect favourability to the three party leaders. The resignation of Moray candidate Stuart MacLennan for abusive Twittering damaged Gordon Brown’s perception, and Cameron’s ill-fated interview on gay rights, broadcast late March on Channel 4, saw his favourability scores decrease significantly.
With over 50,000 Tweets on the three party leaders in the past 3 weeks, half of those during the election campaign itself, the parties should be paying attention to their Leaders’ likeability on Twitter.
Watch this space for daily updated scores on the Party Leaders.
Key to graphs:
22nd March – Sam Cam Baby (1)
23rd March – David Cameron Gay slip up – MP interview (2)
30th March – Tony Blair speech March – Chancellor’s Debates (3)
31st March – Conservative NI pledge (4)
1 April – Business Backs Tory NI pledge (5)
6th April – General Election is called (6)
7 April – last PMQs (7)
7-8th April – Debate on Digital Economy Bill – copyright (8)
8th April – last day of Parliament – Michael Caine and national service announcement (9)
9th April -Boris joins Cameron on campaign trail. Stuart MacLennan sacked
10th April – “Wife day” (10)
11 April – Labour won’t raise income taxes – Clegg says “social unrest” (11)