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The Internet Is Our Focus Group 2: #MunkDebate Episode

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about comparing online behaviour to polling data, and if what people do online is as telling or more telling than what they say in a poll.

Consider the September 29 Munk Debate on Foreign Policy. Polls and pundits alike have said it was close, but if any candidate could claim a momentum boost, it was Justin Trudeau. What does internet behaviour tell us about this polling conclusion?

Trudeau had the highest search ranking during the debate timeframe, just like the previous debates.

Canadian political insiders/influencers were slightly more likely to discuss Tom Mulcair than average Canadians on Twitter (27% share of voice vs. 23%). Echelon Insights predicts that this trend could be problematic for the NDP; during American Primary debates, when a gap emerges between “politically elite” online behaviour and general public online behaviour, the candidate drops in the polls.

Consider the September 17 debate and tweets per minute – Tom Mulcair was the most tweeted about candidate during the debate time span.

Now compare this with the September 29th debate, where Justin Trudeau earned the highest Twitter audience engagement. 

And it seems we were more entertained this time: heartfelt quips with a sprinkle of comedy won the day, more so than the earlier debate. The top 5 moments, according to social media interest, were all clever or sharp barbs:

 

Time

Candidate

What was the candidate talking about?

Peak Influencer TPM

7:40

Trudeau

Trudeau responds to Mulcair, “I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s son.”

52

8:02

Mulcair

“Mr. Trudeau says what he’s going to do with Mr. Putin. Mr. Trudeau, you can’t even stand up to Stephen Harper on C-51.”

49

7:57

Mulcair

“…I was in Toronto, there was one exception but it turned out that Bob Rae was a Liberal.”

47

8:10

Trudeau

“Up north people say Harper has a ‘big sled, no dogs’”

44

8:43

Mulcair

 “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”

38

 

Notably, which tweet (of all the tweets) seemed to earn the most interest of the night with political influencers and the broader public alike? Bob Rae’s observation shortly after Tom Mulcair’s comment about him:

So, looking at online behaviour alone, momentum seems to have shifted to the Liberals and left the NDP. However, this may not have been at the expense of the Conservatives, who seem steady since the September 17 debate. 

Contact Kevin to learn more about Echelon Insights and NATIONAL’s work during the Canadian election.