Analysis of social media has predicted the resounding defeat of the UK campaign for alternative voting.
The picture, based on tone and sentiment as well as volume, indicates a clear link between negative sentiment toward the AV and the volume of conversations regarding the subject.
The analysis was carried out by Meltwater Buzz for the Holmes Report, as part of a new Buzz Report series that will monitor online conversations around the biggest news stories and issues.
Significant changes in sentiment have occurred whenever the issue received substantial attention in the mainstream media, with issues surrounding the funding of the ‘No to AV’ campaign clearly bringing about a negative reaction.
The overall sentiment toward AV has remained negative throughout the last four weeks, with just one exception around 9 April.
A closer look at the causes of the major spikes in sentiment is revealing:
9 April: Sentiment drops dramatically as speculation rises that the Tories are promoting the Labour No2AV campaign.
10 April: A brief positive spike in sentiment as voters discuss the importance of the AV referendum: "THE AV referendum is more important than you think #YES2AV"
26 April: Voters see the No2AV campaign as "too nasty to support" as Senior Liberal Democrat minister Chris Huhne threatens legal action over "untruths" in Conservative campaign literature.
2 May: News breaks that the official campaign against AV has been almost exclusively funded by Conservative party donors, raising new questions about the organisation's claims to be cross-party and politically neutral.
The analysis was also run against each political leaders to capture general online conversation around each party. Party sentiment tracks the same peaks and troughs as the AV sentiment with - suprisingly - the Liberal Democrats faring best.
On the day of the vote, as expected, there was a major spike in volume as voters turn to online channels to talk about the outcome will be and what its impact will be on British politics.
This graph shows that the majority of online conversation took place on Twitter (total mentions: 14.48K) – it also shows the breakdown of conversations on other online platforms.