The Thick of It

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Ken Livingstone versus Boris Johnson in social media

An analysis of social media conversations mentioning London mayoral candidates Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone shows the Labour man catching up on his Tory rival, much as he has done in the opinion polls recently, overtaking Boris by 2%, after trailing by 8% last summer.


The chart above shows the number of times each was mentioned across blogs, Twitter, forums, Facebook, YouTube and in news blogs and comments since September 2011.

You can see that Boris generally leads his Labour rival, with a remarkable peak in early October when he addressed Tory party conference and failed to say anything of significance about his plans for London.

Livingstone picked up in the last few days after a widely hyped interview with the New Statesman, after which Tory MPs demanded an apology after the mayoral hopeful stated that their party was "riddled with gays."

Looking beyond conversation volumes towards the sentiment of what is being said about the two men, is it a positive, neutral or negative comment, also shows the race, in social media, to be neck and neck.

Boris Johnson gains slightly more positive (green) than negative (red) comments, by a margin of +7%:


Ken Livingstone has more fans in social media than Boris in the last few months, according to our analysis:



Of course, the only statistic that matters is the election in May. What this shows is that this will be the close fight we all expect it to be and that despite Boris' celebrity status, Ken's attraction has far from wilted.

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