This is a banner autumn for political and social media enthusiasts. And Canada thought kindly of us, planning a staged cool down from the hype. After a concentration of provincial and territorial elections this past week, Saskatchewan has arrived to transition us into a life of strong, stable (?), political watching.

The writ dropped in Saskatchewan this past Monday in an election widely believe to be Brad Wall’s to run away with. Wall is certainly the leader most mentioned online, leading the second most mentioned NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter by 45%. Remember, that doesn’t necessarily reflect polling numbers, only that Mr. Wall is being mentioned online more often than any other leader.

Wall leads mentions in almost online media in the past seven days. He has 76.5% of leader mentions over Twitter, 57.1% of online news mentions, 76.5% of mentions in blog posts, 100% of the mentions in forums (granted there were only three forum posts) and 75% of the mentions in YouTube video descriptions or tags (only four videos were found). The only media over which he trails in mentions is Facebook. Dwain Lingenfelter leads with 83.3% of leader mentions over Facebook (total of six updates identified).

Twitter is the most active channel for online discussions about the Saskatchewan election. The microblogging service has captured 74.9% of the traffic about the election including discussions about the leaders and election issues (more on those in a minute). Traffic picked up substantially on October 10 (the day the writ was dropped). I expected to see less traffic since it was Thanksgiving Monday in Canada. I guess the political journalists and junkies are just too committed to their interests. Traffic has continued to rise, reaching 348 tweets yesterday.

The most active (non-media) tweeters are led by @latenite72, @ussword and @saskatruth.

Another consistent finding is the gender splits. Online political discussions quite clearly attract more men than women. Of course, as my gender boilerplate goes, the challenge with gender breakdowns of digital conversations is results are based only on accounts which disclose gender information or from which gender can be credibly determined by the disclosed name. Not everyone does that online. So, the results are based on a statistically relevant sample. The number of disclosing accounts is indicated in the graphs. Perhaps more women are involved using nondescript account names.

The leading issue as the election kicks off is education. It led all issues discussions with 72 mentions, yesterday. These mentions include all online media (Twitter, news, Facebook, etc…). The top six most discussed issues and their share of online mentions among themselves are as follows:

  1. education (149 mentions, 25.6%)
  2. family (105 mentions, 18.1%)
  3. agri-food (85 mentions, 14.5%)
  4. energy (83 mentions, 14.3%)
  5. healthcare (82 mentions, 14.1%)
  6. bright-futures (76 mentions, 13.1%)

Note: Bright Futures is a component of the NDP platform.

I’ll continue to keep tabs on the Saskatchewan election leading up to election day, November 7. I’ll thread together analysis of the of all provincial elections after a brief decompression period.

Analysis performed using Sysomos Heartbeat.