The data used for this analysis was taken from the BBCs Have Your Say discussion forum after the 2nd TV debate.
In this piece of analysis, we are examining what words are in context to the 3 party leaders, to see what conversations have been had on them, and what in particular the public have been discussing. The words below show the issues that come through closest in context and highlight the issues that are dominating this particular election campaign.
For example, Nick Clegg is close in context to hung parliament, with evidently much discussion on the fact that a vote for the Liberal Democrats is likely to lead to a hung parliament. However the words in context to David Cameron and Gordon Brown are more linked to policy issues, with pensions being a strong theme for David Cameron, and a number of issues being close for Gordon Brown. The policy areas for Gordon Brown range over a number of issues such as economic (‘businesses’ and ‘costly’), political (‘devolution’), and foreign affairs (‘war’). It was also noticeable that both Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown were close in context to immigration.
It is worth emphasising that this analysis does not attempt to apply sentiment to the context. So it could be that although Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown are close in context to immigration, one of them has a positive perception on this topic in the eyes of the public, and the other a negative one. This piece of analysis does not look to determine this, but instead focuses on what concepts in general are close to the various leaders. However it can be seen that both Nick Clegg and David Cameron are linked to the word ‘better’ which has a positive sentiment.
David Cameron – better, good, pensioners, pensions, sense.
Nick Clegg – better, country, hung, right, Parliament, immigration.
Gordon Brown = businesses, cabinet, costly, devolution, honest, lumbered, questions, SNP, war, immigration.
This analysis demonstrates how the words used by the public immediately after the debate can be analysed using a quantitative analysis of the public’s opinion based on what they actually say.
We will continue this analysis over the coming days, by analysing online discussions on the three leaders, and therefore show how trends are forming in the days running up to the election.