As islanders head to the polls, here’s a rundown of the online chatter surrounding the election in PEI. All analysis was performed using Sysomos Heartbeat.

Islanders are generally not participants in the online conversation

PEI is not as digitally engaged as other provinces. It’s the only province I’ve been tracking in this election season which has more online mainstream news mentions than tweets.

I haven’t dug too deeply into the surprisingly high Facebook participation. However, a cursory look suggests I’m tracking some false positives from the Ontario election. Assume the final Facebook mentions number is lower though I didn’t want to hold up my election day analysis. I’ll refine my tracking for the post-election review.

Male dominated conversation

The challenge with demographic and gender breakdowns of the digital world is results are based only on accounts which disclose demographic and gender information. Not everyone does that online. So, the results are based on a sample (number of disclosing accounts are included in the graph, below).

Robert Ghiz dominates online mentions among leaders

Liberal Robert Ghiz leads online mentions among party leaders. Conservative leader Olive Crane holds second place with Green Party leader Sharon Labchuk a distant third and NDP leader James Rodd well back in fourth. It’s important to note this analysis doesn’t consider sentiment. That means just because a party leader might be mentioned more often doesn’t mean the consensus is positive.

Education, the immigration scandal and business were leading issues

The top six most mentioned issues I tracked online online during the election campaign were:

  1. education (1,152 mentions, 19.6%)
  2. the immigration scandal (1,055 mentions, 17.9%)
  3. business (962 mentions, 16.3%)
  4. taxes (936 mentions, 15.9%)
  5. family (907 mentions, 15.4%)
  6. energy (873 mentions, 14.8%)

Take notice of @Tony_Tracy

Tweeter @Tony_Tracy is the most active non-media tweeter of the PEI election. Tracy and others fit my description of key participant, something others often call key influencers. I prefer the former term since influence can sometimes appear where strategists least expect it and fail to deliver where they hope it will.

Other non-media types actively involved in the online conversation were political enthusiast @JakeAReid and small business owner @JDanAiken. I also identified open educator @davecormier among the key participants.

Connected conversations

Buzzgraphs are a bit hard to explain. Still, digital analysts like myself enjoy reading them because they show how common elements of the online conversation are connected. The strength of the relationships between connected elements are indicated by the type of connected. Strong relationships (where mentions occur more frequently) are represented by thick, solid lines. Medium relationships are reflected by thin, solid lines. Weaker relationships (where mentions occur least frequently) are indicated by thin, broken lines.

More analysis to come

I plan to do some comparative analysis of the four provincial elections next week.