By November 6, 2012 2 Comments Read More →

Canadian youth participating more in online election chatter than US counterparts

I shared some analysis of election day mentions of the two Presidential candidates. That was a look at US-based mentions. This post considers the same breakdowns specifically for Canada. It’s interesting data for discussion. That is, I suggest online activity will have no bearing on the outcome of today’s vote.

Not surprisingly, the volume of Canadian-sourced mentions pale in comparison. By 2:45pmET today, Barack Obama had been mentioned in 21,137 tweets. Mitt Romney trails with13,802 Twitter mentions. Overlapping mentions accounts for 5,481 of the tweets. That means pure mentions amount to 15,656 for Barack Obama and 8,321 for Mitt Romney. Note this analysis does not consider substance or sentiment of the identified mentions.

Unlike US age data which was nearly identical for mentions of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Canadian data suggests redistribution of participation rate by age. Most notable, Canadians 20-and-under participate at a much higher rate (13-14%) than their US counterparts (2%). The most active Canadian group is 51-and-over.

As is typical in online political chatter, participation skews male. Having said that, female participation is better than expected. I typically see a 70:30 split favouring men. Barack Obama enjoys slighly better female representation in his online mentions.

Ontario leads in online mentions of both candidates. Tweeters in BC hold a distant second place, followed by Alberta.

Clearly there’s a shift in the way people are participating in the online chatter. Analysis of earlier elections suggested people generally published their thoughts rather than share and respond to those tweeted by others. I suspected this had to do with the relationship the public had with their primary screen (television) and second screen (computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone). Too much attention went to the television. Perhaps its the repetitive nature of the live coverage or the increased draw to social media which has led to the shift.

American tweeters are favouring retweeting (amplification) and replying to (conversation) mentions of Mitt Romney. As you can see in the chart below, Mitt Romney is the subject of more retweets and Barack Obama has a slight edge on mentions in replies.

Analysis performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat and MAP.

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About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.