The referendum on the Alternative Voting system in the UK took place last week and the ‘No’ campaign won the vote. This concurs with our finding in our white paper: Using the Internet as a Market Research Database: Revelations of the UK Elections 2010; that relative share of the online debate reflects voting behaviour. In our white paper we found that changes in daily election poll results could be estimated by measuring the changes in the relative amount of online discussion. In our analysis of the global English debate on the Alternative Vote we found that the ‘No’ Campaign generated a larger share of the online debate and this indeed reflected voters’ preference in the end.
At the end of March we began analysing the key influencers in the debate on the Royal Wedding and discussed how we measure influence. We followed this up towards the end of April to see how the influencers had changed.
Let’s have a final look at the top 20 most influential websites in the debate on the Royal Wedding:
Table 1: Top 20 Influential Stakeholders in the Debate on the Royal Wedding
There have been sizeable shifts in the top 20 influencers since April. The Official Royal Wedding Website managed to return to the top of the chart, after falling to rank 6th in April. Interestingly the high-ranking Australian news media outlets have fallen from the top 20 as more US news media outlets have taken their place.
We tracked a number of different topics in relation to the Wedding, such as the Cake, the Dress, Security, Westminster Abbey, Rings, Souvenirs and the Honeymoon. We found that Westminster Abbey was the most discussed, followed by the Dress, but when the voices were weighted for influence, the Dress became the key issue, followed by Security.
We analysed the debate on the royal couple and found that Kate was marginally more discussed than Prince William and also proved more popular among influential stakeholders.
Report compiled during the period 1st October 2010 – 6thMay 2011. Please email me (Sophie.email@example.com) if you would like further information on findings presented in this blog post.
There is an interesting article in today’s Financial Times by Richard Waters – A Binary Goldmine – in which he discusses the growth of the sophisticated technology now available for analysis of ‘Big Data’ and the business benefits it brings.
In particular, this paragraph struck a chord with us: “Meanwhile, as the analysis of digital information develops, the traditional management virtues of gut instinct and seat-of-the-pants decision-making are being replaced by reliance on intensive number-crunching and the objective testing of multiple potential courses of action.”
If you subscribe to the FT, the full article can be found here.
The referendum to decide whether to introduce a new voting system to replace our current first-past-the-post system is taking place today. We have been tracking the debate on the Alternative Vote (AV) since the 1st January 2011.
We posted our first blog on this topic on the 14th April 2011.
As might be expected, discussion of AV has increased dramatically since January and in the first five days of May there has been more debate than what was seen during the whole of March! AV is clearly a hot topic but let’s have a look at discussion of the different campaigns:
The ‘Yes To AV’ campaign generated marginally more buzz between January and March than the ‘No To AV’ campaign, however, during April ‘No To AV’ came into focus, only for the ‘Yes’ campaign to move marginally ahead during the first week of May. That said, the volume of coverage is only part of the story; the influence of the voices and the sentiment of what is being said also need to be taken into account.
Overall, ‘No To AV’ has been slightly more discussed and has proved more popular among influential stakeholders. Interestingly, the ‘Yes To AV’ campaign has featured in more polarised coverage than the ‘No’ campaign, appearing in a sizeable proportion of negative posts and only slightly more positive posts. Whereas, when those posts are weighted for the influence of the different voices in the debate, the landscape changes dramatically; the ‘No To AV’ campaign features in 25% unfavourable debate while ‘Yes To AV’ campaign appears in only 21%. Essentially, those who are influential in the debate are discussing the ‘Yes’ campaign in a more positive light. The first five days of May have proved particularly negative for the ‘No’ campaign, but will sentiment determine the results of the referendum or will the high volume of ‘No’ discussion put that stance in the forefront of the public’s mind? In order to establish the overall picture we need to analyse the influential voices in the debate.
So let’s have a look at how the top 20 most influential websites in the global English debate on AV have changed since the last time we looked at them:
For information on how we calculate influence please see our blog post looking at the key influencers in the debate on the Royal Wedding.
There has been considerable movement in the top 20. The most noticeable change was Iain Dale’s Diary, which was knocked out of the top 20 by new entrant, the Financial Times. Although the top five stakeholders have held their rank, the rest of the top 20 has been somewhat reshuffled. Total Politics Magazine experienced the greatest increase in influence over the time period, closely followed by the Liberal Democrats Website.
At this point there are still more websites in the top 20 dedicated to the Liberal Democrats than any other party. Nevertheless, the Conservatives are indeed present in the top 20 and furthermore, both Conservative-focused websites have become more influential in the past few weeks.
It will be interesting to see if the high levels of discussion signify a No in today’s referendum or if strong sentiment and influential voices encourage a Yes from the UK electorate.
Report compiled during the period 1st January 2011 – 5th May 2011. Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like further information on findings presented in this blog post.