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. The great rebounding Clegg?

We chose to ignore Nick Clegg’s very low score last week as an anomaly from the troll-o-meter. But today’s score confirms a 33 point drop by the deputy Prime Minster since 1 April.  The liberal Democrats’ campaign has picked up in recent weeks as the public seems to regain (in part) its affection for Mr. Clegg. That is not to say other Lib Dems have been exempt from trolling. Vince Cable – who has been practically absent in recent weeks – maintains his mid 30s troll score for another week.

2. David’s score drops but remains well above Ed’s

We know that the twitterati are predominantly center-left and liberal in their politics, unlike Facebook which cuts a wider slice of the democratic pie. This may explain the consistently lower scores for Ed Miliband than Mr. Cameron. However, this has been a good campaign for the Labour leader, showing conviction and better leadership than expected. The Prime Minister’s ‘pumped up’ by contrast is easy pickings for the trolls.

3. Nicola loosing her steam

The most dangerous woman in England had a great week, politically speaking, with a pollster predicting her Ms. Sturgeon’s party will win every seat in Scotland on May 7th, causing a fundamental shift in the landscape of British politics, and making deals with the nationalist inescapable. Despite this and odd correlation is emerging. As the SNPs chances improve, the terror of a SNP coalition (largely fueled by Conservative scaremongering) increases. Thus we have seen the SNP leader’s troll-o-meter score slowly creep up in recent weeks. Will this damage her electoral chances? Absolutely not!