Social Media Sentiment is Mythical – Just Ask Alex Salmond

Labour are playing the best of a bad hand by bleating on about being outspent by the Tories, but they should be careful to avoid choking on their own Kool Aid. Pretending that Twitter can level the playing field did not work in 2010…

Guido has warned before, and will say it again; Twitter is just an echo chamber, not a voter battleground. Anyone following politics closely on there has already pretty much made up their mind how they are going to vote. Whilst it might be good for Labour morale, it’s not going to help them in the long run. 

There are 45.5 million voters in the UK, yet only 15 million people on Twitter. Only a fraction of those active users actually follow politics, so to pin your hopes on swinging an election by targeting this already partisan demographic is at best naive…

And it goes badly wrong. Alex Salmond was drafting his victory speech at 10 p.m. on Referendum Day because he was relying on social media sentiment analysis over reality based numbers. Euan McColm reports in the Scotsman:

“But, still, Salmond believed he had won. This was because of his secret Canadians. At huge expense, and amid considerable secrecy, the former SNP leader had brought in polling experts from across the Atlantic. With their new methodology, they’d be able to give him the most detailed predictions yet seen in political analysis. Or something like that.

The reason I mention these secret Canadians, apart from the fact that their existence remains a fascinating, if little known, aspect of the referendum campaign, is that unlike most traditional operators in their field, they placed great store on the use of social media among voters. By monitoring interactions on Face­book and Twitter, a fuller picture would be painted.

In the end, the fuller picture turned out to be a fake, but the fact that Salmond was willing to invest so heavily in his secret Canadians shows us how seriously the SNP – and, naturally, all other political parties – take social media as a campaigning tool.”

Has Douglas Alexander hired the same Canadian voodoo pollsters? 




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Theresa May tells Bercow:

“Mr Speaker-elect, can I congratulate you on your re-election. At least someone got a landslide.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
DUP Deal Signed DUP Deal Signed
Watch: McDonnell on Grenfell ‘Murder’ Watch: McDonnell on Grenfell ‘Murder’
Sunday Shows Sunday Shows
The Economist’s Lack of Intelligence Unit The Economist’s Lack of Intelligence Unit
Happy Independence Day! Happy Independence Day!
Sun Cleared by Hospital Sun Cleared by Hospital
Exporters Order Books at 29 Year High Exporters Order Books at 29 Year High
Corbyn Refuses to Bow to The Queen Corbyn Refuses to Bow to The Queen
McDonnell Repeatedly Backed Far Left ‘Day of Rage’ Group McDonnell Repeatedly Backed Far Left ‘Day of Rage’ Group
“Soft” and “Hard” Brexit Terms Obsolete “Soft” and “Hard” Brexit Terms Obsolete
Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin
Tommy Robinson Called British Muslims “Enemy Combatants” Tommy Robinson Called British Muslims “Enemy Combatants”
Corbyn Praised at London Hezbollah Rally Corbyn Praised at London Hezbollah Rally
Government Understaffed – Key SpAd Vacancies Up for Grabs Government Understaffed – Key SpAd Vacancies Up for Grabs
Clive Lewis: “Burn Neoliberalism” Clive Lewis: “Burn Neoliberalism”
Corbynista Ultras Involved in Storming Kensington Council Corbynista Ultras Involved in Storming Kensington Council
CCHQ Already Preparing for Next Election CCHQ Already Preparing for Next Election