How Digital Media Predicted Election 2015

National-Results-voteshareIt is 1993 all over again. Canadians have elected a new Liberal majority government, led by Prime Minister Designate Justin Pierre Trudeau, replacing a conservative majority led by Stephen Harper. More than 68 per cent of Canadians voted, the largest percentage of the population since the 1993 election. Trudeau’s Liberals beat the Conservative, New Democratic, Bloc Quebecois and Green parties with 184 seats in Parliament with the  rest of the parties having nearly half or less than that number.

Beyond the ballot box, the two years look different. In 1993, the Internet had barely crawled into existence and Google would not be founded for another five years. Today 86 per cent of Canadians use the Internet daily and the vast majority are using smartphones as well. This proliferation of technology has made it easier for people to find the information they want about the elections and share their thoughts about it.

A lot can be learned by measuring those two activities (searches, discussions) in the lead up to the election. Here are our takeaways:

1. Google can predict an election. (Search)

Google Trends, a tool which visualizes data from search terms used in Google, has been used by journalists during the election period to provide context around the potential voting interest of Canadians. In the final days of this year’s election, Canadians entered search terms about the federal leaders asking questions about them ranging from their policies to the age of their children. Using data from Oct. 17, Maclean’s business editor Jason Kirby built a startlingly accurate seat projection based off the trends he noticed in data gathered on October 17—the Saturday before Election Day. In his analysis, Kirby used percentages of search entries proportionate to the number of seats in Parliament to determine out how many seats parties would win. His prediction pegged the Liberal Party as victorious with 189 seats, just five more than its true number, and the Conservatives with 108 seats—a total of nine more than election results.

Kirby’s Projected seat totals, 2015 election

Party

Google / Kirby

Elections Canada 2015

Liberal

189

184

Conservative

108

99

NDP

24

44

Bloc Quebecois

0

10

Green Party

7

1

2. Twitter and Instagram can be a good predictor of voting intension. (Discussions)

Using Cision Social Edition we monitored the conversation on Twitter and Instagram around four of the major national parties—Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic Party and the Green Party—as well as their leaders Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May, respectively.

In our measurement between October 15 and October 17, we found that our share of voice for the four national parties aligned within two and five percentage points of the actual result.

Percentage of the 2015 vote vs Social Share of Voice

Party

Social Share of Voice

2015 % of Vote

Liberal

38.6

39.5

Conservative

28.59

31.9

New Democratic Party

25.53

19.7

Bloc Quebecois

n/a

4.7

Green Party

7.32

3.5

Are you as excited as we are about this kind of social analysis?  Learn how we did it and how you can too.



Copyright © 2017 Cision Canada Inc.
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