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UK Insights

Huge negative reaction in UK to US election campaign

Marcus Gault

Managing Director of Insight

Social 03.11.2016 / 10:00

Shocked face

Kantar Media tracks UK social buzz about the US presidential election

The US presidential election campaign has left a bitter taste in the mouths of social media users in the UK, with half of posts about both candidates categorised as ‘actively negative’.

Kantar Media has analysed posts about the US presidential election made between the first debate and the end of October by UK users of Twitter, blogs and forums, to study Great Britain’s attitude towards politics across the pond.  

Unsurprisingly, Brits are backing Clinton to be the next President of the United States, but they are disparaging about the election overall.

UK users of social have posted about the election almost 700,000 times since the first debate - and social conversations have been dominated by Donald Trump’s combative campaign. Trump achieved a huge 81% of total share of voice, although 61% of posts about him were from detractors.

However, Kantar Media’s data reveals a more complex picture than this negativity towards Trump suggests. Clinton may have been more successful at inspiring positive sentiment, but half of posts about her were also disparaging (57%), demonstrating dissatisfaction with both candidates, and the US election as a whole.

In fact, a growing group of UK social media users are supporting Trump because they are anti-Clinton rather than because they are explicitly in favour of his candidacy. And Trump does have pockets of sympathy: almost a fifth (18%) of UK social posts about him were from advocates.

It wasn’t just on social platforms that Trump aroused most interest: UK internet users made 142% more Google searches for general information about him (an average of 1,827,760 searches) than Clinton over the month of September.

Our data also suggest that scandals that might ordinarily threaten to derail Clinton’s campaign have been mitigated by more serious revelations about Trump. For example, the appearance on 7thOctober of footage showing Trump making sexist remarks triggered nearly 30,000 posts from the UK, overshadowing the major leak of sensitive emails from the Clinton campaign just a few days later, and generating twice as many conversations as the announcement of an FBI probe into Clinton on Friday 28th October.

A number of high profile Brits played a big role in shaping the UK’s conversations about the candidates, with comedian Ricky Gervais (@RickyGervais, 11.49 million followers) and entrepreneur Richard Branson (@RichardBranson, 8.69 million followers), clearly coming out strongly in favour of Clinton.

Trump has fewer high profile UK supporters, but Piers Morgan (@PiersMorgan, 5.22 million followers) has often expressed admiration of his campaign but hasn't endorsed him. 

Additional data from our CMAG (Campaign Media Analysis Group) division reveals that Clinton has spent double the amount – over $250 million – on US TV advertising than Trump since the beginning of the year. She topped the list of presidential TV spending, followed by left-leaning organisation Priorities USA Action.

Source : Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

The data in this story relates to posts from the UK on Twitter, blogs and forums, between 26th September and 30th October 2016.

Download the press release above, for more information please contact us.

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