If likes were seats: Facebook users predict Ukip/Tory coalition in General Election

If Facebook likes were votes, the election result would be a coalition between Ukip and the Tories, while Twitter’s left-leaning community are rooting for a Labour alliance with the Greens and SNP.

Taking six UK political parties’ social media accounts and equating their popularity into parliamentary seats, digital agency 72Point said the outcome of the May 7 election would be a right-wing coalition on Facebook and a left-wing Twitter coalition.

With just 21 days to go until the nation comes together to decide who will make the rules, there is all to play for and no clear win for any of the UK’s six main political parties.

‘IN THIS ELECTION PRINT MEDIA WILL BE FAR LESS INFLUENTIAL’: Labour’s Andy Burnham spoke of the importance of social media in this year’s election at an event hosted by the Independent 
(© Independent, with thanks)

At a political debate event at the RNCM hosted by the Independent on Wednesday night, Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary and Labour parliamentary candidate for Leigh spoke of the emerging importance of social media in the election process.

“This is the first ever election where a large proportion of the public are on social media, and the big leaders debates, they do actually kick off a debate,” he said.

“There’s something else happening outside of the traditional media. At risk of offending our hosts this evening, in this election print media will be far less influential.

“I was thinking earlier today about the hysterical nature of some of the newspapers even now in the campaign.

“Their front pages are all screaming to be heard, aren’t they and they’re not being heard, I don’t think, because the public are taking their information from the interaction between broadcast and social media.

“The public watch politicians appear and then they start interacting with what they’re saying on social media. I think that is how the debate is going, that’s where the energy is in the political debate at the moment.

“Social media is actually engaging people who want to debate and share ideas, and that’s a really good thing.”

So, turning to social media might not be such a bad idea to put a finger on the pulse of the public’s voting intentions. With a combined reach across Facebook and Twitter of well over 2million, nearly 3.5% of the country is engaging with politics online.

The research reveals the Tories and Ukip would take 169 and 163 seats respectively on Facebook, entering a hung parliament, with 26 less seats than the current coalition government hold but still enough for a majority.

Yet Labour shouldn’t be dismissed – their share of 104 seats isn’t to be sniffed at, and the SNP fared just as well, somehow racking up 84 seats despite there only being 59 north of the border!

Losing four of their current 56 seats, the Lib Dems would fall behind the Greens, whose surge in popularity would see them take a huge 77 more than their current share.

But with seats being widely shared across all the parties, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nigel Farage would have the headache of a US Congress-type model leading to key decisions getting stalled because of the range of political views being more equally represented.

But the result wouldn’t be quite so positive for the duo if Twitter was the decider of the election outcome.

Research found a three party coalition between Labour, the Greens and the Scottish National Party would rule the roost – the three way union in place due to a lack of enough seats from Labour and the Greens to secure a majority.

While deciding on the winning party is more of a challenge, the leadership contest would be much simpler. David Cameron has built up 966,000 followers on Twitter, dwarfing closest party leader Miliband’s paltry 424,000.

Yet neither come close to Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London, who is in the running for a seat in the West London constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, has 1.21million followers – more than five times more than Nick Clegg.

John Sewell from 72Point said: “Although the election predictions are purely speculative, they do uncover some interesting trends in regards to social media.

“The results not only show that the general public is divided on this year’s election outcome, but that Facebook has become a lynchpin for right wing parties, whereas Twitter is more of a left-wing social media channel.”

Infographic and research courtesy of 72Point, with thanks

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