NEWS6 May 2015

Economy, health and immigration top talking points for UK electorate

News UK

UK — The top three policies that the electorate are talking about are the economy, the NHS and immigration according to initial findings from the SSI/Confirmit Political Buzz survey.


The findings, gleaned from quantitative survey data ( 8 – 26 April) as well as the share of buzz from social media ( 1 – 28 April), match that being presented across the broad section of political polls. SSI/Confirmit therefore suggested that both survey methodologies are delivering findings that can be compared to other election surveys and that social media buzz is an accurate reflection of opinion.

As a consequence they believe that whichever party wins the argument and makes the strongest impression on the electorate on these three policy areas, will most likely win the election.

There was a clear spike in social media activity the day after both leaders’ debates and this was mirrored in significant movements on certain policies in the quantitative survey data. The spike in social media buzz was noticeable across all parties. However, the absence of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in the second debate had no impact on the increase in buzz on both of these parties.

The share of social media buzz across the main political parties was: Conservatives, 30%; Labour, 30%; UKIP, 15%; SNP, 12%; Liberal Dems, 8%; Green Party, 3% and Plaid Cymru, 2%. With the exception of the SNP and the Green Party the researchers said these numbers mirror voter opinions emerging from the Polls.

They pointed to UKIP’s high proportion of buzz because immigration is one of the top three issues and if there is a discussion about immigration, UKIP are likely to be involved or referenced. The SNP buzz is likely to be high because of the high probability of a hung Parliament and discussions around possible power sharing.

Another finding from the study was that Thursday is the main day for social media buzz although the researchers admitted more work needs to be done to understand why. One reason could be that both leaders’ debates took place on Thursdays – 2nd and 16th April – however, even without the debates, total volume of buzz is still greater on a Thursday than other days of the week. There was also a spike on Thursdays for completion of traditional surveys and faster response rates.

The next step of the study will examine social media sentiment on the three key policy subjects, to delve more deeply into what is driving the debate. It will also carry out sentiment analysis for each party. The Political Buzz surveys will continue after the Election, monitoring opinion for an additional two weeks.