Category Archives: Liberal Democrat

Did Leaders Debate Damage YouGov Brand Value?

The YouGov/Sun poll gained an enormous amount of exposure on Sky TV last night when it appeared minutes after the TV debate wrapped up.  It put Cameron clearly in the lead and fired up an already excitable Kay Burley.   When other polls appeared the tale was somewhat different as ITV/ComRes, the Guardian/ICM and The Mirror all put Clegg first, with The Mirror even reporting that Cameron had come last.  So what was going on.   A quick look at twitter confirmed a broader sense of astonishment at the YouGov findings.  The tweet…

YouGov Poll: Earth round 23% Earth flat 64% Earth other-shaped 13% #LeadersDebate

..was posted by hundreds of voters. A Twitpic that has been viewed over 18,000 times suggests that YouGov has been polling on behalf of  either the Tories or Labour to elicit voter fears in the event of the Liberals gaining a big share of the vote.

Twitter posts also pointed to the extraordinary fact that the founder and (until the start of the campaign) CEO of YouGov is a Conservative candidate. It isn’t much of  stretch to question the independence and therefore reliability of a polling organisation that may be commercially and politically aligned to one of the major parties.   In this game value and reliability are very closely linked.

Get the Lib Dems Into office! Facebook Group Hits 100,000 Fans

The LibDem bandwagon stepped up another gear today with perhaps the most effective voter inspired social media initiative of the campaign to date.  It’s a Facebook  Group called “We got Rage Against the Machine to #1, we can get the LibDems into office!”  It cleverly echoes, or should I say explicitly refers to, the Facebook campaign that upset the X-Factor dominance of the pop charts at Christmas. 

It has grabbed the post leaders debate mood and membership has rocketed in the days since, with it passing the 100,000 fan mark this afternoon.  A week ago and before the debate took place it had just 10,00o fans.   It has become an online rallying point for supporters and activists. and a place to share irreverent campaign collateral, like the image above.

Mail on Sunday Poll Puts LibDems First

A poll in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday puts the Liberal Democrats in poll position with two and a half weeks to go before May 6th and the real vote.  The breakdown of the BPIX – Mail on Sunday is as follows:

Liberal Democrats 32%
Conservatives 31%
Labour 28%

The other polls published in the national press tomorrow have the Tories in first place but with a much reduced margin and the LibDems are second in one with Brown’s Labour party hanging on to second place in the Telegraph/ICM prediction.

The Sunday Mirror/Independent on Sunday/ComRes poll has the Conservatives on 31% (-4), Labour on 27 per cent (-2) and the Liberal Democrats on 29 per cent (+8).  The Sunday Telegraph/ICM poll puts the Tories on 34 per cent (-3), Labour on 29 per cent (-2) and the Lib Dems on 27 per cent (+7).  YouGov and the Sunday Times have the Conservatives at 33%, Labour 30% and Liberal Democrats 29%.

The Clegg Effect in TV Debate Changes the Course of the Election

Today’s YouGov poll reveals a huge surge in support for the Liberal Democrats.  Nick Clegg’s performance in the first of three TV debates has put the LibDems  in 2nd place ahead of Labour and just three points behind the Tories.  The figures published in The Sun this morning show Conservative 33%(-4), Labour 28%(-3), LibDem 30%(+8). The effect on our poll of polls average will be seen if and when further polls reflect this shift.

The LibDem bounce is likely to enjoy the considerable oxygen of publicity which may boost their share further setting up a scenario where they are a contender genuine contender for to win, in time for the 2nd TV debate next Thursday.  So is this the TV election or can it still be influenced by social media.  Well it is both.  The verdict on who had won the election came first from social networks. Social media analytics companies were measuring sentiment in real time and publishing the data whilst the debate was still in flow.   Clegg’s performance delivered 10,000 additional fans on Facebook and in the coming days the force of the groundswell in social media support for the third party (or do we now say second?) will make the leap into mainstream commentary.

Channel Four Debate ‘Ask the Chancellors’ – TV and the Back Channel



Tonight’s televised debate between the leading candidates to be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide a solid indication of the potential relevance of social media in the coming election.   Whilst the arguments are played out in the front channel (the TV), the arguments and analysis will be broadcast simultaneously in what has become known as the back channel.  Specifically social media and in particular, twitter.  The programme makers are promoting this and have created a hashtag #askthechancellors, so that two-screen viewers can follow the debate – front and back.  Live online reaction will also be played back to the TV audience.

The on-line debate will alow anyone to voice an opinion with the potential for that opinion to be propelled either by other like-minded voices on-line or through broadcast TV.  There will also be the coordinated voices of campaigners like the InVinceCable, the social media pressure group who launched their campaign to back Vince Cable earlier today.

Before the credits roll we will have a clear sense through the on-line commentary of which of the pretenders to Number 11 Downing Street has caught the mood of the nation.  This is important partly because it paves the way for what will happen in the party leader debates but also because it is our economy that is at stake.

Grass Roots Campaign for Vince Cable to be Chancellor #invincecable

There is a lot of debate as to whether social media will play a truly significant role in the coming election or not.  The nay-sayers point to the fact that we have no Obama-like figure around which support can coalesce and the short nature (less than four weeks) of the official general election campaign.

A key aspect of the social web is that it allows like-minded people, even those that are not politically active in the traditional sense, to build campaigns around a particular interest or objective.  One such campaign is that gathering traction on the social web is a campaign to promote Liberal deputy leader Vince Cable as the post election Chancellor of the Exchequer.   The campaign has a wiki, website, invincecable.org.uk, a  slogan “In Vince Cable we Trust” and the inevitable hashtag #invincecable.

With the Liberal vote hovering around 19% this campaign surely has no chance having any impact.  The Liberals just can’t win.  Like many things it isn’t that simple.  The latest polls point at a hung parliament.  To avoid a second plebiscite a coalition government may be on the horizon.   Any coalition would include Liberal Democrats.  Whilst not exactly Obama-like Vince Cable is one of the few political figures in the UK that excites interest across the party lines.

The economic crisis will inevitably deepen as public spending falls after the poll.  There is growing consensus that the economic challenges we face require a depth of economic understanding that Osborne, Darling (or Balls) just don’t have.

If the people say loud enough that they want Cable in Number 11 they might just get him.

MPs Gear Up to Campaign on Twitter … Oh No They Don’t

‘MPs turn to Twitter to talk to voters’ shouts the headline on the Daily Telegraph site today.  If the august, if conservative (small ‘c’) columns of the Telegraph are saying it then it must be so.  Well it aint.   Yes there are lots of MPs on Twitter now, if you call just over a hundred out of 646 MPs a lot.

Taking its most of the stats from Tweetminster the Telegraph also notes that John Prescott has over 13,000 followers (at the time of publication it was actually slightly under).  Hardly enough to guarantee  a Labour landslide.   With months to go before the US presidential election the candidates were counting their online support in terms of many hundreds of thousands.  Most MP candidates have a few hundred followers.  In fact @Election10 beats a lot of them hands down.   The online influence of bloggers like Guido is far greater than any MP or parliamentary prospect.

There are only weeks to go and whilst the web will undoubtedly play a bigger part than ever before it’s not the MPs who will be setting the agenda, least of all with their paltry twitter followings.  

Election of the Speaker: the Candidates

Margaret Beckett MP  Labour

Sir Alan Beith MP Liberal Democrat

John Bercow MP Conservative

Sir Patrick Cormack MP Conservative

Parmjit Dhanda MP Labour

Sir Alan Haslehurst MP Conservative

Sir Michael Lord MP Conservative

Richard Shepherd MP Conservative

Ann Widdecombe MP Conservative

Sir George Young MP Conservative 

The voting begins after the candidates give a short election address in the House of Commons at 2.30pm.  A series of secret ballots will take place until one candidate has a majority of the votes.