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UK Insights

Twitter called it

Claire Davies

Former editor and head of content

Politics 24.06.2016 / 12:00


Leave wins the EU referendum and the Twitter battle

Using the Kantar UK Political Pulse, we’ve tracked tweets from when the EU referendum campaign started on 15th April until polling day. Across the 69 days, we’ve analysed 9.3 million politically themed tweets sent and here is what we discovered...

Through-out the campaign the most popular hashtag was #EUref. In total it was used 236k times, with use growing steadily as we approached 23rd June, particularly once it became an official Twitter hashtag, complete with image.

The second most popular hashtag was #VoteLeave, used in 199k tweets, followed by #StrongerIn (103k tweets).

So, if #VoteLeave was more popular than #StrongerIn, did Twitter predict the EU referendum result? Well, when we drill into the data a bit further we see that the most prolific tweeter of the campaign was the account: @Vote_Leave, sending a massive 108k tweets since April. If they were including the #Voteleave hashtag in every tweet, that might go some way to explain its popularity.

Another important thing to note is that whereas the Leave campaign galvanised around one hashtag, the Remain campaign used a range of different hashtags:

#StrongerIn 103k
Remain #70k
#VoteRemain 41k
#LabourInForBritain  #32k

The account that sent the second highest number of tweets across the whole campaign was @UKLabour with 103k messages, spiking around the London mayoral and local elections on 5th May. The third most tweet-happy account was @skynews, sending 87k political tweets since 15th April.

The politician who has sent the most tweets across the campaign is Nigel Farage, he sent 73k tweets.

If we analyse which politicians were mentioned most, we see that David Cameron in first place with 2.5m tweets, followed by Jeremy Corbyn with 1.6m tweets.

Early on in the campaign there wasn’t a lot of interest in the EU referendum, with far more tweets being sent about the Junior Doctors’ strike. We saw interest steadily growing as June 23rd drew nearer, then things changed dramatically with the tragic killing of the Labour MP, Jo Cox. Before that the biggest spike in UK political tweets had been during the local and mayoral elections on 5th May with 348k tweets sent in one day. On the day Jo Cox died, 660k tweets were sent, the biggest number of tweets we’ve recorded on a single day, this year.

Across the EU referendum campaign, we measured 9.3m tweets, from 1.3m accounts, meaning each author sent around 6 tweets each. Overall, we measured 60% negative sentiment, 11% positive and 29% neutral.

As well as the Kantar UK Politics Pulse, we also have versions in Spain and France.

Our Spanish Editor, Paula Carrion says: “Brexit is now the most mentioned hashtag on the Pulso Político Kantar Europe in the most tweeted word, and the sentence “sad for Europe” is being used frequently. The word Gibraltar is also growing in popularity; Spain wants Gibraltar back!”

Paula goes on to point out that although the EU referendum is generating a buzz on Twitter, Spain has a General Election on Sunday 26th June, so that is dominating.

Source : Kantar

Editor's Notes

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