Top of the Trolls

Weber Shandwick tracks the negative sentiment on Twitter towards key politicians in the run up to #GE2015.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, they’ve all suffered at the hand of the Internet troll.

Trolls can be destructive, callous and absurd. They delight, inflame and expose in equal measure.

United by a disdain for slick rick politicians and ‘the establishment’, the troll is the natural enemy of the political classes.

Over the next few months Weber Shandwick will be tracking the effect of these dangerous creatures on a selection of our top 11 UK politicians to watch as they fight for the public’s affection in the run-up to May.

* Negative Twitter Sentiment tracked using Sentiment 140, one of the pre-eminent free sentiment trackers on the web.

Here’s a few key findings from this week’s scores at the doors:

1. It’s April Fools!

It’s April 1st, the natural day for trolling, a fact heavily reflected in the scores this week. Being the most visible, the party leaders suffered the worst this week, as they launched their election campaigns. Trolls feast on visibility. If you stick your head above the parapet, prepare to get clobbered.

2. Mr. Clegg gets a bruising

Just look at that increase! 50 points, means Mr. Clegg is by some margin our most trolled politician this week. Nor is Mr. Cable, doing particularly well either. All in all a bad week for the Liberal Democrats, as their election campaign got off to a bumpy start. Lesson learnt; fraternize with Joey Essex and unleash the trolls.

3. Murphy plays it cool

Jim Murphy, Labour’s embattled Scottish leader, is the only politician to have dropped his troll rating this week. After failing to mention Labour on his campaign leaflets on Monday, you might have thought his score would be higher. The reason might lie in his lack of visibility. Recent polling by Lord Ashcroft predicts that Murphy will hold on to his East Renfrewshire seat by just one per cent. Is it time to get out his soap box again?