As things have settled down after the election, we took the time to compare the Eyesover Support Index results with both the actual election results along with the final predictions from a few polling firms and needless to say, we were extremely pleased with the outcomes. The Eyesover numbers below indicate the Support Index as of 7:00 EST on election day.
We took one last look at the Federal Election tonight at 8 pm to get the most up to date numbers and as you can see, it's all about the Liberals.
The swing to the Liberals over the past few days has been quite extraordinary as they now hold a 13 point advantage in our Support Index, a level that could put them in majority territory.
Since our last analysis of the Federal Election on Friday, the Eyesover Support Index indicates things have been quite volatile over the weekend with the Conservatives gaining ground on Friday and Saturday only to see things turn the other way on Sunday and the exact opposite results for the Liberals. What is especially interesting to note in today's analysis is the changes in sentiment expressed over the past two days towards the Liberals and the Conservatives.
On Friday and Saturday, the Conservatives had two days of higher-than-normal positive sentiment being expressed coinciding with two days of sentiment that, while still positive, was much lower than usual for the Liberals.
We looked into the topic frequency over those two days and the Liberal's campaign co-chair issue was their most discussed topic. It continued to be so through the weekend until the frequency of that particular topic decreased by a considerable amount on Sunday and was replaced with issues that provided more positive sentiment towards the Liberals. The resulting increase in the Liberal Support Index score is quite significant indicating the co-chair issue may not have been strong enough to cause any lasting loss in support as they returned to their previous highs.
The most frequently discussed topic over the weekend in relation to the Conservatives was Rob Ford and the average sentiment of those discussions was negative enough to drop the Conservative's Index score below the Liberals heading into Monday's election after enjoying an small advantage for a couple of days.
So as we head into tomorrow's election, the Liberals hold the advantage online, but the volatility could certainly mean we are in for an exciting Monday night.
While we started out using the Eyesover system to monitor the Federal Election for a little bit of fun, we’ve been pleased by the requests we’ve received to provide our results on a more frequent basis. So with the election coming on Monday we decided to provide another update heading into the weekend since we expect there will be a lot of exciting movement over the next three days.
As you can probably tell from the title of this blog post - unless you are more obsessed with the Jays than we are and assume this is about a Marcus Stroman two-seam fastball - we’re talking about the recent changes in our Eyesover Support Index.
Since our last update Wednesday, we have witnessed a significant narrowing of the gap between the Liberals and the Conservatives – so much that our Support Index shows a dead heat between the two parties.
The underlying reasons for the changes are the average sentiment scores for the Liberals and the Conservatives, with the former decreasing over the past two days and the latter increasing.
What caused these changes? We analyzed the topics within the comments that mentioned each of the parties over the past two days and found that those mentioning ‘lobbying’ or ‘Gagnier’ represented close to 10% of the Liberal comments we analyzed - an extremely large share. The average sentiment of those comments fell into negative territory, a significant change for the Liberals and Justin Trudeau who for the most part, have enjoyed very positive sentiment online. Over the same period, the Conservatives enjoyed an increase in their average sentiment leading to their increased Support Index score.
We’ll continue to watch over the weekend as it looks like the race is going down to the wire. And remember - Go Jays!
It’s been a week since our last Federal Election analysis and during that time there have been significant changes in the traditional polls. All polls show the momentum swinging to the Liberals as they pull ahead of the Conservatives while the New Democrats remain in a distant third place.
Our online analysis with the Eyesover Support Index last week produced trends that were very similar to traditional polls with the Conservatives and the Liberals in a close race. This week is no different with the Eyesover results indicating the Liberals have broken away from the Conservatives to some of their highest levels yet. For this week's analysis, we note that interest in the election is growing as we near October 19, as we are currently analyzing over 80,000 mentions per day.
We mentioned last week how multiple research studies have found that the frequency of online mentions is a reasonable proxy for overall support for a party in an election. That being said, our index weights frequency with sentiment to more accurately determine how online activity relates to vote intention.
For example, while the Conservatives generally have more people talking about them online (sitting governments always do), the average sentiment towards them is lower in relation to the other parties. We obviously have to take this into consideration when interpreting online data when using it as a proxy for vote intention.
What was interesting to note over the last week was the fact that as the sentiment towards the Liberals and the NDP remains constant (in the very positive range), the number of Liberal online mentions grew dramatically while the NDP remained at a constant level indicating online attention is turning towards the Liberals.
The rise in Liberal mentions coupled with a consistently high sentiment score is the combination that has put them ahead of the Conservatives on our Support Index this week – we’ll continue to watch to see if this trend continues as we approach election day.
As we follow the Canadian Federal Election through social media here at Eyesover, we often have to remind ourselves that we are not a polling company. While polling companies are measuring vote intention through traditional methods, we are analyzing online comments for issues related to the election and determining if the comments have a positive or negative sentiment attached to them.
However, with new polls appearing almost daily during the election, it is hard to not turn our attention to polling results with the understanding that sentiment towards a party or leader on various topics would play a significant role in the formation of an individual’s vote intention. So we set out to use the Eyesover system to look for insights into voting intention using metrics such as sentiment and frequency analysis.
Since elections are based on one vote per individual, any social media data used in determining vote intention must reflect that reality. As a result, we used the average sentiment of all comments by an individual to ensure hundreds of comments from one individual do not outweigh one comment from hundreds of individuals. We also took the number of individuals discussing a particular party or leader into consideration since frequency of mentions has been shown in various research studies to be a reasonably good proxy of overall support for a party. The methodology we use to arrive at our Support Index is to multiply the normalized daily leader/party sentiment score by the percentage of individuals discussing that particular leader/party for the same time period.
So what were the results? If you’ve been following the polls, we’re sure you’ll recognize the patterns in the accompanying graph. After analyzing an average of 60,000 daily comments, we found the Conservatives and the Liberals in a close race with the NDP support decreasing over the past ten days.
The fact the online data has produced results so similar to traditional polls demonstrates
the possibilities for using the Eyesover system in conjunction with polling. The benefit for our customers comes from the fact our results are an accumulation of thousands of daily discussions and opinions pertaining to hundreds of, in this case, election-related topics. This provides customers with the ability to identify the underlying topics or issues where their positions are viewed positively by the public and those that are not – good information for any entity, private or public, to have.
Here at Eyesover, we look at social media as a 24/7 focus group. You can listen in on thousands of people discussing a particular issue and with the right software, you can determine not just how often people are talking about an issue, but also how they feel about a particular stance on that issue.
Obviously, the Canadian Federal Election provides us an opportunity to use our system to gauge public sentiment towards a multitude of issues in relation to each leader or political party.
When we look at specific topics that are being discussed online over the last week, one topic that has been garnering much attention is the niqab. So we took a deeper look into the data and found some interesting results. For this analysis, we looked at over 300,000 online comments from the period of September 23 to October 1 that mentioned either the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party or New Democratic Party or their respective leaders. Out of those comments, approximately 25,278 also mentioned specific topics that we have identified as important issues in the election, of which 5341 were related to the niqab - a significant percentage (21%) to say the least
The first thing that is evident is that when people discussed the niqab online over this time period, it is primarily in relation to either the Conservatives or the NDP. Comments being made online are generally not including the Liberals in the discussion. The data also shows that the niqab issue only gained traction on September 25, the night of the French language debate, and that it has continued to be a much discussed topic since that date.
We also found that comments discussing both the niqab and Stephen Harper accounted for the most online comments we analyzed in every province with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. For Thomas Mulcair, the niqab is one of the top two topics of comments in which he is also mentioned in all provinces with the exception of Alberta (it is ranked 3rd), and PEI. Of particular interest is the fact that the niqab was the most discussed topic in relation to all three of the parties/party leaders we analyzed in Quebec.
So how are people feeling about the issue? In both the cases of Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair, their most recent sentiment scores are below 50 indicating the discussions about each leader pertaining to the niqab are negative. It is always interesting to look at the trends however, and we see the trend for Mulcair is significantly more negative than is Harper’s.
How this issue will impact voting preference remains to be seen, but our analysis indicates that the niqab has become a hot issue in the election. Based on the comments discussing the NDP, in relation to that topic, it has not been a favourable turn of events for that particular party.
The Eyesover Team