Telegraph commentators – Clegg outmanoeuvred Cameron

The data used for this analysis was taken from user comments from the Telegraph website on blogs published immediately after the two sets of TV debates.

Analysis published previously analysed over 3750 comments on the BBC’s Have YourSay after the two tv debates showed Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown doing well. As we are providing an impartial opinion trends service and that our technology can analyse a vast amount of data very quickly, we are expanding the newsites forums we analyse.

So we analysed a more right wing news site – The Telegraph – and the results from the comments made by users after the first TV Debate came back showing that Clegg was the winner. Surely there was some error in the analysis, a conservative supporting paper having readers favouring Clegg?

So for due diligence we reviewed all the comments, and we found the analysis to accurately reflect the opinions within the forum. The majority of views expressed was that Clegg won the debate, whether they will vote for him or not.

For the next piece of analysis, we focussed on the data from the Telegraph site, and split the data into two separate sets, one after the 1st TV debate, and another after the 2nd TV debate. In this way we can look to examine any changes in public opinion on the Telegraph site over the two debates.

Our analysis examines what words are in context to the three 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. 

Key concepts arising from the comments in the Telegraph data from the 1st TV debate include:

David Cameron: hereditary, lords, peers, unreported, future

Gordon Brown: economy, immigration,

Nick Clegg: better, tax, UKIP, choice, outmaneurve, reform, won

Notably, UKIP appears in context with Nick Clegg. This appears a bit of a conundrum, but further analysis showed that as the consensus was that he was the better performer, some traditional Tory supporters expressed their displeasure with Cameron and instead were floating towards UKIP.

Could Cameron win back traditional Tory supporters with the 2nd TV debate? Our analysis showed that commentators on the Telegraph website after the 2nd debate did find Cameron performed better.

Key concepts arising from the comments from the 2nd TV debate include:

Common to all: alliance, referendum, unstuck

David Cameron: atlantic, Republicans, businesslike

It is worth emphasising that this analysis does not attempt to apply sentiment to the context. So this could mean positive or negative perception on this topic in the eyes of the public. This piece of analysis does not look to determine this, but instead focuses on what concepts in general are close to the various leaders.

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.

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