Policy area importance vs party leader

The previous analysis showed where the public had concentrated their comments when discussing on the BBC Have your say discussion forums for the month of April. We decided to take this analysis further, and look at how the policy areas relate against each party leader. As before, this data came from every single comment from every single discussion topic made on the BBC Have your say discussion forum in the month of April.

This analysis was conducted by comparing the policy areas in context against the party leaders, to see the distribution of conversations for each leader in the various policy areas. The score is normalised for each party leader to make the comparison of the relative importance for each leader easier.

First of all, let’s look at the analysis of Gordon Brown. As expected, the economy and tax head the agenda and also the comments that have been written online. The only surprise may be in the fact that health and schools come out so low in comparison.

Gordon Brown

The next analysis we will look at is David Cameron. This analysis shows in some respect a much more healthy overview of discussion against policy area, with the scores not being dominated by the economy and taxation. The chart shows that there is a equal spread of discussion over a range of topics. However, this may simply reflect the fact that there has been so much discussion on the economy with Gordon Brown, for obvious reasons.

David Cameron

The final phase of analysis is to look at Nick Clegg. Here we see that in contrast to the other two party leaders, immigration comes out as the top issue. This perhaps reflects the attacks on liberal democrat policy that were made recently by both the Conservatives and the Tories, and on the basis of this analysis show that this has resulted in more comments on this issue in context with Nick Clegg than any other issue.

Nick Clegg

It can also be seen that there are fewer policy areas that gather scores for Nick Clegg when compared with the other parties. This is likely to be due to the fact that as the third party in the election, and a somewhat surprise package to many people, the discussions on Nick Clegg have not focussed exclusively on policy areas, but rather on personal qualities.

It should be noted that these charts do not show sentiment analysis regarding these policy areas – therefore although it is clear that Gordon Brown has an overwhelming majority of comments relating to the economy, this does not mean that they are either mostly positive, or mostly negative. This analysis simply shows the areas that have been discussed.

The next blog will examine how the parties profile looks, particularly when we compare this against the party leaders.

We will continue this analysis and any changes that occur in public opinion in the coming days in the run up to the election.


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