Sadiq Khan leading in the polls and on social media

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

The analysis, from social intelligence company Brandwatch, looked at tweets coming from Londoners and shows Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith had a difficult time on Twitter last week while his Labour rival dominated the conversation.


While Khan’s larger presence on the social network usually leads to him garnering more mentions, the stories being shared around the candidate were far more positive than many of his competitors. The most shared link within London Mayor related Twitter conversation, which spans more than 25k tweets, was his campaign video, ahead of a link for Londoners to register to vote.

Goldsmith’s most shared link was to a tweeted picture of his coat buttoned clumsily to his jacket and the second was an article penned by Tory activist Shazia Awan labelling his campaign “damaging, exploitative and ugly.”

Meanwhile, his #AskZac Twitter chat, which took place on Friday, was also used by tweeters to demand financial transparency in the wake of the Panama papers revelations and criticised his connections to the disability benefits cuts. A list was quickly curated containing the most humorous tweeted questions.

The data demonstrates how other candidates are struggling to own much of the share of voice surrounding the upcoming election on Twitter, with Peter Whittle and Sophie Walker making up only 4% of the candidate related conversation between them and five of the candidates gathering between 0 and 1%. However, many of these candidates have larger followings on other social media platforms.

The attending candidates enjoyed mention spikes during the ITV/LBC debate on Tuesday, while George Galloway also got a boost after he labelled them a “mockery of democracy” on Twitter.

Topics most tweeted about by Londoners included housing, transport and security and policing, though the Panama leaks, Garden Bridge and an influx of tweets from rallying cyclists also made it into the top eight most discussed issues Londoners discussed on Twitter.

Cycling was the fourth largest topic discussed during the week as they encouraged candidates to commit to protecting cyclists in the capital.


The gender breakdown of the conversation was also measured, and male voices dominated the overall conversation last week on Twitter. Female candidates were generally gaining a higher percentage of female tweeters, although Khan got the most tweets from females overall.


Social data can’t predict success in elections, with users are often regarded to take more left leaning positions. However, it can give an indication as to how candidates are performing week on week and the issues that Londoners care about most.

As election day looms, listening to what Londoners have to say online could help struggling candidates prioritise their efforts in the homestretch.

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