Who has really won the social election?

Who has really won the social election?
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While there has been a lot of social media attention on the Federal Election, particularly after the leader debates, it’s been tough to tell exactly who has been winning the public over.

On Wednesday Labor’s Kevin Rudd and Liberal leader Tony Abbott went head to head for the third and final live debate of the 2013 federal election campaign, with questions posed from an audience of 100 undecided voters at the Rooty Hill RSL in western Sydney.

They included questions regarding superannuation, the Rudd proposal to move Garden Island to North Territory, dental care scheme, funding of independent schools and foreign land investment

Again, everyone is asking, who won?

We used Crimson Hexagon's ForSight platform to analyse the social conversation surrounding the debate to find a winner, taking into account context around the posts.

We analysed nearly 80,000 relevant posts of Australian voters on social media.  Abbott garnered 5% of the personal support and a negligible percentage for his policies.  Rudd received only 2% support for himself personally and 16% for his policies.

It’s interesting to note that there were few positive comments regarding either parties’ policies during debates one and two, however, it seems people have been reading up on the policies and commenting on them now that we are nearing election date.

This also means there are less negative comments; 75%.  Abbott however received most of the negative comments, receiving 20% for himself personally and 37% for his policies.  Rudd however, received far less criticism with 18% aimed at him personally and a negligible amount for his policies.

Rudd is the clear social media winner in this third debate.

Each debate has been notable by something out of the ordinary happening.  I’m referring to Rudd reading from his notes and announcing his support for marriage equality, in the first debate and Abbott saying, “will this guy ever shut-up” in the second debate.  The third debate passed without anything extra-ordinary happening.  Other than Prime Minster Rudd taking a selfie with Tony Abbott and someone in the audience, at the end of the debate, it passed reasonably uneventfully.

Instead the Australian people took over to ensure it was still a momentous debate with a social media phenomenon.  The hashtag #imvotingliberal “hashjacked” and twitter followers started to use it at the commencement of a joke.  A little like you might use “knock-knock”. 

Here are some examples:

How has the conversation changed over the three debates? Let's have a look at the net sentiment and compare the three debates.

These figures represent overall sentiment and take into account the percentage of neutral sentiment in the figures shown. Negative sentiment has gradually reduced from 86% to 73% and finally 53%. It seems as we near the election date, people are becoming less negative on social media as they decide who they will support.  Positive sentiment has waivered from 10% to negligible to 16% at the last debate.

In summary, Rudd has won two out of the three debates on social media, with the first debate difficult to declare a clear winner from.  Now it is up to the Australian people to choose their next Prime Minister on Saturday September the 7th.

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