Ed Miliband most tweeted about as UK goes to polls

Labour leader Ed Miliband has been the most tweeted about politician in the week leading up to election day

Labour leader Ed Miliband was the most tweeted about politician in the week leading up to election day.

Just under 30% of election-related tweets mentioned Miliband, compared with 21% talking about incumbent David Cameron and 7.8% Ukip's Nigel Farage. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg trailed in fourth with 7.3% and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was fifth with 2.3%.

The numbers come from Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) ElectUK app, which analyses voter sentiment via Twitter. It uses TCS-developed big data analytics software known as PeriVista, which provides dashboards of information about the parties, candidates, political commentators and political issues. 

Labour was the most talked about party, with 30.9% of all party mentions. But the tweets were not all positive. Neutral comments accounted for about half of Labour mentions, while positive and negative comments had a roughly equal share of the remaining half.

Ukip was the party most talked about in the earlier run-up to the 2015 UK general election, but dropped to second most mentioned over the past seven days, with 27.3% of tweets. The SNP was third most talked about, with 20.8%. Ukip and SNP had a similar split between positive, negative and neutral as Labour. The Conservatives (7.1%) and the Liberal Democrats (6.2%) have had a quiet week on Twitter.

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The economy has been the most popular topic on Twitter, with 33.1% of all election-related tweets mentioning it. Health was second, with 28.4% of all mentions, and the subject of Europe was next most discussed, at 14.8%.

According to TCS UK head Shankar Narayanan, the ElectUK app demonstrates the insights businesses can gain through using big data technologies.  

“ElectUK has been created to showcase the potential uses of TCS’s digital and big data technologies in the UK,” he said. “ElectUK uses big data to give voters and political commentators greater insight into the online conversations shaping the election debate, in an easy-to-consume, interactive and visual way.”

Narayanan added that the app demonstrates the power of what technology can do with unstructured data. Enterprises are using big data on an ad hoc basis, he said, with different departments trying it out, but eventually enterprises will adopt it more formally. 

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